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The History of SwimSafer Programme

Updated: Feb 7, 2021

SwimSafer is a national water safety programme in Singapore introduced in July 2010 by the National Water Safety Council (NWSC), a council appointed by the then Ministry of Community, Youth and Sports (MCYS).

*MCYS is now known as Ministry of Community, Culture and Youth (MCCY) 

The SwimSafer programme consists of six progressive stages. Survival and activity skills are taught in each stage of the programme, working progressively toward the next stage.

At the end of each stage, each child will receive a stage completion certificate.

In 2018, the syllabus was reviewed and SwimSafer 2.0 was developed to equip participants with a more rigorous water survival and swimming competency skills. SwimSafer 2.0 programme comes with a revised syllabus and assessment, and enhanced instructor capabilities through training and re-certification to provide quality learning experience.

The key changes made from SwimSafer to SwimSafer 2.0:

Syllabus There is a greater focus on water survival skills and swimming competencies, through a stronger emphasis on participants’ practice time and skills progression. Online quiz was developed to help participants reinforce their knowledge of water safety (for instance, difference between swimming in a pool and in other water conditions.

Participants will receive an electronic certificate upon completion of online quiz and practical assessment.

Assessment Protocol Participants will need to demonstrate relevant skills in a sequence that mirrors water survival situations more realistically. Participants can show showcase their competencies more effectively and efficiently, ensuring that they have fully mastered the skills imparted.

Professional Development and Certification of Instructors To ensure instructors are up-to-date with content knowledge and pedagogical practices, instructors are required to renew their certification every three years with mandatory hours of continuous coach education.

The programme aims to teach swimming proficiency and water survival skills to individual to minimize drowning incidences in a fun manner. These skills are necessary in view that more than 60% of drowning incidences in Singapore (from 2005 to 2008) occurred in open waters, such as the seas, rivers and reservoirs.

The SwimSafer™ 2.0 programme consists of the following categories

  1. Entries and Exits

  2. Sculling and Body Orientation

  3. Underwater Skills

  4. Movement/Swimming/Strokes

  5. Survival Skills

  6. Rescue Skills

  7. Knowledge


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