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Businesses back life-saving Thames training course

Businesses back life-saving Thames training course

Staff from riverside businesses have been signing up for a water safety course, equipping them with the skills to prevent drownings on the tidal Thames, stretching 95 miles from Teddington in west London to the North Sea.

Barking Riverside Limited (BRL), master developers of a project turning 443 acres of former industrial, riverside land in east London into a vibrant neighbourhood, and marine consulting engineers Beckett Rankine, are among the latest companies to have enrolled staff on to the Riverside Personal Safety Course, held twice a month at the London Aquatic Centre in the Queen Elizabeth Park, Stratford.

Employees from both firms have contributed to a new film, explaining how useful they found taking part in the course.

In the film, Beckett Rankine’s Matthew Jennings describes the course as “brilliant”, with Barking Riverside’s Ken Webster hailing it as “a must” for anyone working on the river, as well as members of the public.

In partnership with River Thames employers, the award-wining training course was developed by the Thames Skills Academy (TSA), working with training provider SeaRegs, the Port of London Authority (PLA), Transport for London and Tideway.

Since the course was launched, over 1,500 participants have learnt about the dangers of the Thames and the importance of deploying life-saving equipment correctly, including ensuring that life jackets are in date and are fitted properly.

Katherine Riggs, chief executive of the TSA, said: “Each year, of the 100 people who get into trouble in the waters of the tidal Thames, half are in the river unintentionally.

“With one in three people unable to swim, it’s vital that we widen the network of people living and working along the Thames through London to the coast, who are able to look after themselves in and around the river and help others who may find themselves caught out by its strong tides and currents.”

Lucy Owen, the PLA’s deputy director of planning & development, commended BRL for becoming the first riverside development company to support the course. She said: “It’s great to see BRL blazing a trail by sending their staff on the Riverside Personal Safety Course.

“Growing riverside development makes it imperative for all companies involved to ensure that their workforce and customers, along with the public at large, know how to look after themselves and others on the river.”

Katherine Riggs, added: “We hope the course will be the new norm for all those involved with the river, as workers, landowners or residents, and encourage all riverside businesses to make it a part of their staff training.”

The next courses are scheduled for 4 and 5 September 2023. Places can be booked via the TSA website.


Watch: Life-saving training course

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