Rescue Brigade worried about long waiting list for swimming lessons
The waiting list for municipal swimming lessons has increased from 3 to 9 months since corona. Normally, the municipality of Amsterdam hands out around 3,300 swimming diplomas per year, compared to 1,100 last year. At the moment, there is not enough water available to make up for the backlog. A worrying development, says the Rescue Brigade in Amsterdam.
The swimming lessons started again this week. Times are tough for Amsterdam bath attendants. The waiting time for municipal swimming lessons has increased to 9 months, which leads to unsafe situations, says the Rescue Brigade. In the meantime, it is especially concerning as the weather is becoming nicer and children want to play in the water.
Parents ask swimming schools almost every day: "Can my child still swim before the summer?" "I understand that, because that is convenient for the holidays," says Betty Heimans of swimming club Waterv Friends Amsterdam. But she has to disappoint many parents. "The waiting list has been filling up for months, and although we also want children to have fun, we are not going to stamp any diplomas."
Parents are also very excited at swimming school De Ocean, but owner Mohammed Ben-Zzine emphasizes that it takes time to get your diploma. He sees that some children have forgotten how to swim during the lockdown. It is very busy at his place and at other private swimming schools. "The amount of water in Amsterdam is limited, we now have to talk about it with the swimming pool to make better use of it, so that we can give more lessons."
Extra deployment of the rescue brigade
The Rescue Brigade started monitoring IJburg last year due to two drownings. From 1 May, this supervision will become standard, with an occupancy of 4 people. This initiative was taken by the East district and the Safety Region. Walter Weg of the Rescue Brigade also sees that there is more and more swimming in the city. "Wherever there is water, they are people swimming these days." But the rescue brigade doesn't have enough volunteers to keep an eye on more places. "We will soon start a recruitment campaign for new volunteers."
So we have to pay extra attention ourselves. Walter Weg advises: "If your child does not have a diploma, do not go deeper into the water than to your knees. And for older children: do not go swimming alone, do not jump off bridges, and go swimming where there are safety precautions. At the beginning of the swimming season, make sure you don't get too cold. This is a mistake that is easily made. And parents? Don't look at your phone, but at your child! "
The municipal swimming schools expect to be back to the old level of 3 months waiting time before the start of swimming lessons in 2022. They mainly want to do this through maximum opening hours for swimming lessons and lessons during the holidays and on Sundays.