The National Conservation Commission??is expanding its "Operation Save Ourselves" (SOS) programme in an effort to teach even more Barbadians to swim.

The National Conservation Commission (NCC) is seeking to teach at least 300 Barbadians to swim this summer under its "Operation Save Ourselves" (SOS) programme.

Word of this has come from General Manager, Keith Neblett, who said this year there will be a nominal registration fee, for the seven-week programme.

Lamenting the inability of many Barbadians to swim, Mr. Neblett stated the NCC was expanding the programme, in an effort to teach even more persons, especially in light of its popularity last year.

"Operation SOS" will get under way from Saturday July 12 and run until August 26.?? Training will take place on Wednesdays and Fridays between 9:30 and 10:30 a.m. and 4:00 to 5:30 p.m. It will be held at two venues, Browne’s Beach in St. Michael and Folkestone Beach in St. James.

The NCC is inviting persons 13 years and older to register. Registration forms will be available from next Monday, June 14 Interested persons are asked to visit one of the following locations to register – the NCC Headquarters, Codrington, St.Michael, Folkestone Park & Marine Reserve, St. James; Rockley Beach Park, Christ Church; Browne’s Beach Facility, St.Michael and Bathsheba Beach Facility, St. Joseph. The registration fee will be waived for persons between 10 to 12 years.

"Operation S.O.S."?? will include lectures on the prevention of drownings, the do’s and don’ts of water safety, understanding currents, understanding and interpreting flags and beach signage and ??wind and waves. ??

The programme is designed to acquaint participants with the experience of ocean swimming and its hazards, while exposing them to an environment that will teach respect for the marine environment in order to promote more responsible behaviour.

On completion, participants should be able to swim (save themselves), identify and understand some of the threats that may be encountered in the aquatic environment. ??They are also expected to leave with a greater understanding and respect for the marine environment gained by daily physical contact with the environment and through lectures and discussions on pertinent marine and aquatic topics.

The NCC maintains that learning to swim is a lifeskill that can be very useful throughout one’s life. The Commission is also of the view that swimming is not only a great way to keep fit; but is a life saving skill. Knowledge of the aquatic environment is believed to be essential for all beach goers and citizens generally, especially in a small island like Barbados.

For more information persons may contact Ricardo Marshall, Special Projects Officer of the NCC at 425-1200, Dave Bascombe, Lifeguard Instructor and Gloria Coward at Folkestone Park & Marine Reserve at 432-8177/422-2871 231-4981.??

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