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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 20 August 2018

Parents welcome RAK water safety campaign   

Families given emergency first aid training and water safety tips

Parents and children in RAK are being taught the importance of water safety. Reem Mohammed/ The National
Parents and children in RAK are being taught the importance of water safety. Reem Mohammed/ The National

Police in Ras Al Khaimah have launched a swim safety awareness campaign following a recent spate of drownings across the UAE.

More than 500 adults and children attended the two-day event which took place at a number of popular beaches in the emirate last week.

Families were given a series of lectures on emergency first aid as well as tips and advice on how to stay safe in the water.

Last week, a six-year-old girl drowned while swimming at a hotel pool in RAK and in June this year a nine-year-old Emirati boy also drowned off the coast of RAK during a day out with his family.

First Lt. Muza Al Khabouri, director of community programmes at RAK Police, said authorities hoped the campaign would reduce numbers of deaths by drowning.

She also said officers planned to boost swimmer safety by introducing lifeguard cover on Al Mahad public beach.

“One of our goals is to prevent the number of incidents of drowning by educating the public and improving swimming safety measures," she said.

"The awareness campaign aims to reach out to families and children as well as working to provide lifeguard cover on Al Mahad beach.

"We're looking to encourage young people to volunteer and become certified lifeguards so they can help us provide a safer environment for the public in and around the water.

“This will be an opportunity for young people to give back to the community and learn something new."

The two-day campaign took place on Al Mahad and Al Mairid public beaches in collaboration with RAK tourism development authority.

As well as games and lectures on water safety measures, some 350 life jackets were given out to children learning to swim.

Parents welcomed the new initiative, urging authorities to hold similar events throughout the summer.

“We all enjoyed the activities as well as the useful tips on how to deal with children around water,” said mother-of-three Amina Al Rashidi.

“The children were extremely happy with the life jackets and we're looking forward to seeing lifeguards on Al Mahad beach.

“We also attended a first aid session which was very useful. This is the kind of event we regularly need to see at the beach, especially during the summer."

Amina Al Shahi, an Emirati mother-of-two, added: “Both my children love the beach and we take them at least once a week.

"But unfortunately they're not yet great swimmers and this worries me a lot.

“The beach is the number one getaway for almost all families in the UAE and so everyone should know how to swim and how to perform emergency first aid.

“The community police are doing a great job in spreading safety awareness and we really appreciate all their efforts."

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Read more:

Calls for better swimming pool safety after Dubai drowning

Swim safety message vital after yet another drowning incident

More lifeguards needed to boost safety at beaches and pools in the UAE, says expert

How to make sure your children are safe swimmers in the UAE

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Luke Cunningham, managing director of Blue Guard Middle East, a Dubai-based consultancy specialising in water safety training, urged anyone going swimming to always respect the water.

He also called for authorities to consider making swimming lessons mandatory in schools in an effort to address instances of young people drowning.

“The ocean is a beautiful yet terrifying place and must be treated with respect," he said. "It's mood can change very quickly depending on the tides, winds and the shape of the beach. If parents aren't sure (of conditions) they shouldn't swim and shouldn’t leave children unsupervised.

"Only enter the ocean if you know how to swim or are being supervised by a lifeguard, parent or guardian who can."

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