'Swimming card' could cut number of drownings says education minister

Marcin Bielecki/PAP

Poland’s education minister has raised the prospect of introducing a 'swimming card' in an effort to reduce the number of drownings each year.

According to information published on the Polish police website, in 2022 419 people in Poland drowned.

Speaking to state-owned broadcaster TVP on Saturday, Przesmysław Czarnek said that while about 20 percent of the deaths were caused by alcohol, the main reason for drowning is a lack of swimming skills.

The solution to the problem, according to the minister, is to introduce "a swimming card that will be provided by instructors who are at the pools, and educating young people on the skills they need to get it."

Czarnek went onto suggest that the card would be needed "to be able to rent kayaks, water equipment, etc."

The card, he added, "will make swimming lesson common, as well as raise awareness of the need to be able to swim."

With a card "there may be two or three times fewer drownings" said Czarnek, who added that while swimming lessons and swimming pools are available for anyone in Poland, "it is no fashionable for students to acquire basic swimming skills."

According to the statistics from the last five years, the most tragic was 2018, when 545 people drowned in Poland, and this year, since April 1, the Police Headquarters has recorded 255 drownings.

Czarnek also mentioned that in the Netherlands last year, 11 people drowned and most of these were Poles.

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