Earlier this year in May, four young boys drowned at the Hogenakkal Falls in South India. The reason for their death was due to the fact that they did not know how to swim. Based on figures, on average almost one lakh people drown to death every year in India. One of the key factors is them not knowing how to swim. However, the other significant factor was not knowing how to save one from drowning as well.



In order to solve this problem, Rashtriya Life Saving Society (India), a voluntary organisation training people in first aid, resuscitation, water safety, life saving and life guarding skills, launched a ‘Swim and Survive’ initiative. Their goal is to teach approximately two hundred children from the slums of MRS Palya in the city to swim. In June itself, around five children lost their lives to drowning in water-bodies in and around the city. The latest incident involved two boys drowning at Honnakalasapura Lake near Anekal. After going into the lake for a swim, the two boys faced some difficulties. There was very little their friends could do but watched helplessly in horror as their friends drowned.

The ‘Swim and Survive’ initiative was officially launched last Friday at the BBMP swimming pool in JP Park, Mathikere, by Manoj SS, a twelve-year-old from Mysore. Manoj made headlines after saving a handicapped woman from drowning in a temple pool. “I was washing myself at the temple pool when I saw a lady drowning. Instinctively, I jumped in and somehow grabbed her hair and swam with her to safety,” he recalled.

Although Manoj was successful in his attempt to save the woman, rescuing one from drowning is no easy task according to Ankit Wagh, general manager of RLSS (I). “To save a drowning man, one needs to know basic life saving skills. If you see someone drowning, instead of jumping into the water instinctively, the best thing to do is a ‘dry rescue’ — using a pole or a rope to try and rescue the drowning person. The other ideal option is an ‘accompanied rescue’, which involves using a flotation device like an inflated tyre tube or floaters. Even an empty can or plastic bottle can come in handy at such situations. Only in the worst case scenario should one attempt a ‘direct-contact rescue’ by swimming into the water,” explained Ankit. For more of the story, you can read it here.

At Happy Fish Swim School, we have our own lifesaving course for those who might be interested in learning more upon completion of the SwimSafer programme.