Under the patronage of His Highness Shaikh Isa bin Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, President of Royal Life Saving Bahrain, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Isa bin Salman Educational and Charity Fund, Royal Life Saving Bahrain (RLSB) today, launched its Water Safety Strategy for Bahrain with the goals of developing a culture of swimming and enjoyment of water, promoting volunteerism and social cohesion, reducing water-related death and injury, enhancing the appeal of water related tourism and fostering respect for coastlines and marine habitats.
The Water Safety Strategy was developed with international expertise and local consultation, knowledge, and experience. The local parties that provided valuable input in the development of the Water Safety Strategy included the Bahrain Tourism Exhibition Authority, the Coast Guards, Civil Defense, the Higher Education Council, Ministry of Youth and Sports Affairs, the Drowning Prevention Committee, as well as various hotels and waterparks.
The launch event was attended by Her Highness Shaikha Nayla bint Hamad bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa, Chairperson and Founder of Royal Life Saving Bahrain in the presence of an array of board members and media personnel.
Royal Life Saving Bahrain (RLSB) is a charitable organization launched in October 2016 with the mission to promote safe enjoyment of recreation in water, build cohesive communities, enable economic development and save lives; it is supported by Life Saving Bahrain Management WLL which has been incorporated to undertake commercial activities and secure funding for the mission of RLSB.
Commenting on the launch of Water Safety Strategy, His Highness Shaikh Isa bin Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, President of Royal Life Saving Bahrain said “the launch of the Water Safety Strategy is a crucial step to making the surrounding waters of Bahrain safer for citizens and visitors alike. As an island nation, water is integral to our national heritage. We must embrace this legacy by providing opportunities to learn basic swimming and safety skills, whilst utilizing our natural water assets to improve public health, drive tourism and help create employment opportunities for all Bahrainis.” His Highness added “As a newly established organisation, Royal Life Saving Bahrain will work to unite our communities, institutions and local leisure industry under a shared objective: to educate and advocate a safer aquatic environment for citizens, residents and tourists in line with international standards. Together, we can – and are committed to – protecting future generations and our environment.”
“Every life is precious and as the Quran teaches us “the saving of one life is like the saving of mankind.” It is with this responsibility in mind that Royal Life Saving Bahrain was founded”, said Her Highness Shaikha Nayla bint Hamad bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa, Chairperson and Founder of Royal Life Saving Bahrain. “Our goals will be achieved by working together with the community, government institutions, public and private sectors. After all, the community as a whole is responsible for saving lives. No matter what profession we are in, we can all make a difference as individuals. The Water Safety Strategy was devised in line with international best practice and it outlines the various steps that need to be taken to achieve our goals.” Her Highness highlighted the role of Life Saving Bahrain Management WLL, which will execute all commercial projects on behalf of RLSB with the aim to sustain RLSB and help fund all services benefiting the public in Bahrain. Such activities include but not limited to training lifeguards at beaches and private institutions like hotels, water parks, etc…
The Water Safety Strategy launched by RLSB addresses a number of challenges in a constructive way turning them into development opportunities which will contribute toward achieving Bahrain 2030 Vision. Some of these challenges are: the loss of lives to drowning, limited focus on monitoring and analysing drowning related death and injury, the lack of awareness on water safety, absence of / limited opportunities to learn basic swimming skills, lack of standardized approach to safety management in swimming pools, absence of lifeguards in public beaches.
To meet the goals set in the Water Safety Strategy, RLSB has identified strategies that are based on a combination of international best practice and local context; there are five independent strategies: 1) teach swimming, 2) provide safe locations, 3) teach first aid, 4) develop lifesaving people and 5) improve boating safety, and three activities that span all strategies: 1) research and evaluation, 2) policy and regulation and 3) communication. These activities will be implemented in close collaboration with local stakeholders from the government and both public and private sectors.
The event also featured a presentation by Dr. Bernadette Matthews, Principal Research Associate, Life Saving Victoria – the specialist international advisor providing expertise in water safety. Dr. Matthews said “the World Health Organisation released the Global Report on Drowning in 2014. Within this report were 10 actions recommended to nations worldwide to reduce the burden of drowning. It also highlighted the essential steps for developing a national water safety plan. Bahrain is one of the first countries in the world to follow this process and the first in the region. Royal Life Saving Bahrain along with key stakeholders from Government, industry and the community, is leading the way internationally in establishing a Water Safety Strategy for Bahrain. This plan is the blueprint to reducing the drowning toll in Bahrain.”
Royal Life Saving Bahrain is a member and recognized by the International Life Saving Federation (ILS), the world authority for drowning prevention, lifesaving and lifesaving sport.
All lifeguarding qualification made available in Bahrain through RLSB will be recognized internationally by the ILS.