Fermanagh and Omagh Policing Community Safety Partnership (PCSP) deliver open water swimming safety course

28th September 2021

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Fermanagh and Omagh District Council in partnership with the Fermanagh Omagh Policing Community Safety Partnership (PCSP) and Swim Ulster recently organised a series of successful open water swimming safety courses which focused on a wide range of aspects associated with open water swimming, including, acclimatisation, flotation and rotation, moving through the water, technique and sighting. The Council was the first local authority in Northern Ireland to host such an event

The safety courses which took place at Muckross Strand, Kesh proved very popular with all available places taken at both events.

Two sessions were undertaken at each course, one for those new to open water swimming and have limited experience and one for those who are more experienced open water swimmers.

Fermanagh and Omagh District Council Vice Chair, Councillor Chris McCaffrey, was one of the participants. Speaking after the course, Councillor McCaffrey said;

I was delighted to attend the Open Water Swimming Safety Course both in my capacity as Vice Chair of the Council but also as a participant on the course. Prior to undertaking the course, I confess that I was “a little wet behind the ears” so to speak regarding the dos and don’ts of safe swimming in open water. However, thanks to the expertise of our tutor, (name) from Swim Ulster, I came out fully immersed and aware of the importance of completing the various safety measures before undertaking open water swimming.

We were honoured to have noted open water swimmer, Jordan Leckey in attendance. Jordan had recently set a new world record for fastest swim from Ireland to Scotland completing the crossing in a little over 9 hours.  There was also a big turnout on the evening which demonstrating the high level of interest from the public in these types of events.

I believe it is truly important that education on water safety is promoted to both young and old, as too many people are tragically lost to the water each year.

I want to express my gratitude to all the partners involved in the organisation of the events and I would encourage those interested in open water swimming to avail of any future courses. It could save your life.”

The Fermanagh and Omagh district has an extensive network of lakes and waterways which are attractive to open water swimmers, but each location poses its own set of challenges.

Chair of the Fermanagh and Omagh Policing and Community Safety Partnership, Councillor Keith Elliott said;

“I was delighted to see the high level of interest in the courses, and it was encouraging to note that so many people had taken the time to come along to avail of the expert tutelage to familiarize themselves with the necessary steps to ensure that their open water swimming could be undertaken as safely as possible.”

Ruth McQuillan, Swim Ulster Coach Development Officer said;

“Swim Ulster were delighted to avail of the opportunity to work with Fermanagh and Omagh District Council and the Fermanagh Omagh Policing Community Safety Partnership to promote safe swimming in the local area. The Open Water Swimming Safety Course covered many aspects of open water swim safety. It is vitally important that open water swimmers bear in mind the mantra of “Safety first at all times”.

Speaking about the courses, Peter Scott, RNLI, said;

“the RNLI strongly recommends this type of training so that swimmers are equipped with the skills to enjoy open water swimming safely and I commend Fermanagh and Omagh District Council and Fermanagh and Omagh Community Safety Partnership for organising the courses.”

Due to the success of the courses and the demand, Fermanagh and Omagh District Council in conjunction with Fermanagh and Omagh Policing partnership and its other partners hope to organize further courses next year.