In Monaco, the Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation introduced the “Water Safety Days” in 2016, which take place in June, in order to create a fun-filled day of activities that combine swimming, water safety, and highlight the values of sport for school children. Its concept was first initiated in 2013 in Capbreton, France.
The specific date of these activities is decided between the partners and usually involve decision-making from the school, as the participating children often come from the same school or the same class.
In many parts of the world, children are not always trained in rescue, lifesaving sports & water safety skills, even if they already know how to swim. These skills, however, are very important to raise awareness of drowning prevention globally and to make these children feel safer and empowered in water environments.
On the day, children are separated into small groups and participate in different workshops. These workshops are fun and varied, and combine theory and practice: Workshops cover Inshore rope rescue, Rescue tubes, Nipper Boards, Drowning prevention and CPR (Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation). These workshops form the cornerstone of the Water Safety Day activities, but they can change slightly depending on the location and the partners.
Over the past decade, more than 1300 children have participated in these life-changing activities. Children discover lifesaving sports for the first time, leading them to share their experiences with family and friends. The programme has also contributed significantly to increased awareness of drowning prevention and water safety.
The Princess Charlene Foundation’s Water Safety Day offers children essential skills and knowledge to stay safe in water environments. As the program continues to expand its reach and impact, it instills a sense of empowerment among the younger generation, paving the way for a safer and brighter future.
“Our Water Safety Days epitomize what the Foundation aims to offer to children”, said H.S.H. Princess Charlene of Monaco, “These activities combine swimming, water safety and the values of sports for a global approach to education: teaching, preventing and inspiring passion for the water. Its format has improved over time, and we hope to expand it to even more countries in the future.”
“The Water Safety Day model developed by the Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation provides a unique opportunity to engage children in drowning prevention and water safety activities at a young age,” said Dr David Meddings, Technical Lead for Drowning Prevention at WHO. “The variety of stakeholders coming together for this initiative leverages diverse expertise and skills, all contributing to one goal: ensuring children are able to stay safe in and around water.”