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The History of The Lifesaving Foundation

John Connolly


The aim of this educational article is to provide a historical overview of a small charity called The Lifesaving Foundation. The foundation is based in Ireland, has an international membership, and supports the development of lifesaving in countries in Africa and Asia. It aims to reduce the number of drowning deaths worldwide by supporting and conducting drowning prevention-related research, organizing a regular research conference to disseminate the latest drowning prevention and rescue research, publishing water safety and drowning prevention information, and financially supporting water safety-related projects in low and middle income countries.

Keywords: lifesaving, lifeguarding, water safety, drowning, charity.

Drowning is a major cause of death worldwide and, among other initiatives, it can be reduced through the formation and support of local and national lifesaving organizations. High income countries (HICs) generally have such organizations, whereas developing or low and middle income countries (LMICs), where the majority of drowning deaths occur, may not. Ireland has a number of lifesaving organizations ranging from large national organizations like Irish Water Safety (IWS) and the Royal National Lifeboat Institute (RNLI) to over 30 small voluntary community-based rescue and recovery services. The Royal Life Saving Society Republic of Ireland Branch (RLSS IRELAND) was established in 1904 before the establishment of the independent Irish state and remains a member of RLSS UK and the RLSS Commonwealth Society by virtue of its historical origin. The Lifesaving Foundation (originally called the Irish Lifesaving Foundation) was founded by RLSS IRELAND in 2003, with the aim of ‘saving lives from drowning— worldwide.’ This educational article provides an overview of the Foundation’s first decade aiming to expand and update information originally provided at the inaugural International Aquatic History Symposium and Film Festival in 2012

(Lifesaving Foundation 2012).

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Article from: International Journal of Aquatic Research and Education, 2013, 7, 380-395 © 2013 Human Kinetics, Inc.