The cause, from what I remember, is a serious shortage of public pools. Many older pools have had to close because they can't meer water quality/hygiene standards, and hardly any new pools are being built.
The sad result is that kids are now horrible swimmers.
Deaths of swimmers, from children to young people their twenties are in the austrian news weekly if not daily.
On hygiene standards, not much a problem here or in my native Germany, but instead it's a unwillingness by the local administration to fund those public pools. Among the richest countries in the world yet the focus is on some other shit.
That sounds like there used to be a time when that was different. In my experience, apart from maybe very few private or sport oriented schools, Austrian schools never had a pool. But in Vienna school groups would go to a public pool, of which there were and are many. Not sure if they stopped that, but if they did, it's not for reasons of access. More likely because doing anything outside school grounds is an "excursion" and organizing it probably comes with more and more bureaucratic nightmares.
Every summer is now filled with news of kids drowning- we are back were we started a hundred years ago.
? It is completly irrelevant, the proportion it represent is next to none.
For your reference
> The largest group of immigrants and their descendants in Belgium are Italians, with more than 450,000 people, which is well over 4% of Belgium's total population. The Moroccans are the third-largest group, and the largest Muslim ethnic group, numbering 220,000. The rest consists mostly of French-speaking people from Brussels, Turks, Kurds, Dutch, French, Portuguese, Spaniards, Greeks, Bosniaks, Algerians, Congolese, Vietnamese, Poles, Indians, and Guineans (around 23% of Belgium's population is of non-Belgian origin).
Moroccan people swim just fine.
I really do wonder how can people have that idea on their mind at all time even in cases like this where it doesn't even begin to be in scope.
If you don't think that's what you were saying, I invite you to re-read what this thread is about, and your comment to it.
The fact that these few people in particular might drown more often proportionnaly is 1. not what this is about, 2. unsourced, especially since as the article state culture who don't know how to swim are scared of it and don't try to do it, unlike culture like ethnic belgian who aren't scared of it and thus have more chance to drown by effect of not being afraid of going into the sea despite not knowing how to swim.
I can barely float. But once you reach a certain age the social stigma of it will prevent you from even trying, I have been looking to learn but most places I found are oriented towards very young kids and nothing for the 20-something people that need to catch-up
I know one guy who couldn't swim, took lessons, and now does scuba diving - which, by the way, is something people should try at least once, it's like floating into another world.
Are you sure about that? There are a lot of people who worry about going to the gym , concerned that everyone else will be staring at them. No one [except for the very rare hole] is bothered about what you're doing, they are just getting in with their workout. I'd expect swimming to be the same.
Our local pool has various sessions for beginners, both young and old. Normally the pool is separated into three lane sections, fast, medium, and splashing around.
Any 'stigma' you do perceive isn't worth bothering about - it's their problem and not yours.
But usually beach time is with friends and acquaintances, people that know how to swim and don't understand at all my experience.
The only "difficulty" is that you have to not care what complete strangers think about you trying to learn. Your actual friends and acquaintances won't know anything.
My guess is to make it more sterile and professional by learning alone with a coach.
Don't let anxiety hold you back from learning this!
Swimming isn't actually hard. It's easier than a lot of things that people teach themselves to do. If multiple people offer to help you, pick out the person who seems pretty chill about things and follow her advice.
but don't learn to swim in the sea. and do look up on rip currents once you go swim at the beach.
These migrants can come from anywhere. Africa, Asia, Europe. The commonality is that they have at best, 25m or 50m swimming proficiency. They have never swam in open water, experienced tidal pull, waves, uneven rocky shorelines.
At various times, there have been campaigns to get them trained up. Its a short, sad life to emigrate, hit the beach and die.
(a second common fatality is rock fishing without an anchor or a life vest but thats Off Topic)
Even in a tourist beach, the strength and sudden depth of the ocean was so different from what I was used to.
I once had an Danish teenager tell me "tides are an old viking thing". We were on a beach with a 6cm tide, I'm more used to several metres.
Two common scenarios:
People get knocked of cliffs.
People walk on beach, get too close to the water or wade in a little too far.
If you live on the Cimbrian Peninsula e.g. you're in a position to experience how vastly different open waters can be (calmer baltic sea or the stronger north sea shores are never more than 1h away). But most of the time, people only have one option of open waters.
Anyway, here is a video by the surf rescue Australia explaining how to spot rips https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PuAlDTC_gIQ
I was sure that seas with their salt waters are no problem. Boy was I naive; in my first real sea swim I nearly died to a current dragging me a couple miles into the sea through a flock of jellyfish.
How does that differ from just swimming fast?
"ISTM" is "it seems to me", in any online discussion. b^)
Often the rescued people will comment afterwards that they didn't have any swimming experience prior to coming to Australia, let alone experience in strong rips.
What happens is that in the Mediterranean Sea tides are very small.
As a diver I have experience getting into bigger than 10kms/hr currents and thinking for myself: Wow if I had not the Cylinders I would probably instantly experience panic here.
I usually have a quick chat with a lifeguard if there is one, and/or check out what flag system they are using (usually pretty obvious like red/green but it can be different depending where you are). Research a beach on the internet for a few minutes before you go.
But how do you know when are out of the rip, so you'd know when to stop swimming parallel?
As surfer we call them lift. They take you out for free, and then it's easy to step out, just as on a lift. But to a swimmer who has no idea they are usually deadly.
You can focus on some constant points, like the surf or some rocks, but usually it's easy to step out, and you feel it immediately.
You can feel it easily if you can touch or swim down to the bottom. Also, it's often possible to see where the sand bars and reefs that are next to the rip are located either by seeing the color of the ocean floor or by seeing the waves breaking; get behind those and you'll be out of the rip.
My reasoning is that in a world where people are born, work and die in one place there is a smaller chance of them ever needing to swim.
Only coastal people really need to swim and even then, as the article states, mostly if they harvest aquatic resources.
So in other words. As long as global communications have been lacking humans have been living very localized lives and not had the need to swim. Why then try and pinpoint a specific time when we "forgot" to swim? Doesn't make sense to me.
And yes I know strontium analysis show that humans could migrate a long way even in ancient times. But they were usually migrating over land. With the exception of small groups of humans during relatively small windows of time who aided in colonizing islands like the british isles or south east asian islands, people who weren't involved in the aquatic industries mostly moved across land.
I guess the article is trying to say that humans moved away from coastlines as agriculture became more efficient. And therefore forgot how to live near the coast.
To the question of obviousness - lots of things are obvious but wrong. It was obvious that Earth was at the centre of the universe. It was obvious that heavier-than-air craft couldn't fly. It was obvious that the aether existed. Studying obvious things is important.
More-over, much of British naval strength was press ganged and an inability to swim meant once aboard the men were easier for officers to control. They were stuck there, and couldn't jump ship and swim to shore to escape their bondage.
It's not just historically. A lot of people who work on the water these days in developing countries are still terrible swimmers. One of my friends was a dive instructor in Indonesia for a few months, and apparently the guys skippering their dive launches couldn't swim. Since it was Indonesia, they also didn't bother with wearing life jackets.
I don't know how they managed to spend their life living on an island and not learn how to swim. Apparently Fijians are also terrible swimmers. It just doesn't make sense to me. Obviously they aren't going to swim between the islands, but it seems like a fairly essential life skill when boats are your main method of transport.
And swimming is something you should either learn to do fairly well, or not do at all. Most poor mothers will let their kids play soccer on a quiet street -- but they will balk at letting 'em swim unless they get real training.
I am not sure about the argument that falling in the water was a death sentence so that is the reason swimming was unnecessary. Consider that naval life for instance after the 14th century had a high accident rate. In such cases, being an above good swimmer is a highly desirable skill.
I think the main reason for the lack of swimming was British and French sailors were "conscripted" in 18-19 centuries , and the average citizen at the time did not leave close to shore. At the time not living in close proximity to the sea practically meant, due to travel being a luxury of time (especially during the pre-enlightenment, i.e. feudalism, era), that you never learned to swim as a kid. That places a high-learning curve on an individual who does not have the luxury for such an investment. (Tried to find some credible research and reference; was disappointed with the material; Here is an article on the learning vantage point of an adult https://adequateman.deadspin.com/an-adults-guide-to-learning...)
Thus my point is that Feudalism  essentially removed access to the sea to people in mainland/central Europe during pre-adulthood, by land-locking families and later eras (industrialism) perpetuated this trend. Thus swimming became even more of a luxury, which is inline with the existence of a written manuals (certainly not aimed for the average citizen), that seem to focus on basic familiarity with the water. These seem similar to other luxury manuals at the time, such as fencing. Then the average sailor from these regions did not have prior familiarity with water.
The time period the article focuses on is a post-Byzantium and post Venician era. I think the article kind of jumps ahead and focuses not on Western Europe but only on North and Central Europe. What was the "swimming state" of Roman era Germania or Britain? How can one draw conclusions about Northern Europe from the lack of access to baths in Rome? The reasoning of the article leaves a lot to be desired there.
I have to claim living near a river or lake (and bathing) does not make one a good or even ok swimmer.
> the average citizen at the time did not leave close to shore
> removed access to the sea to people in mainland/central Europe during pre-adulthood, by land-locking families
And as for France, sailors, including pressed ones were from coastal regions.
This may be true, but doesn't pass the sniff test. There are many situations with small boats (to and from the shore, other ships) and when the boat is stationary when being overboard would be easily remedied.
How do you define Europeans? North/western only? The continent's name is ancient Greek and, while the eastern borders may have changed, there is no point in time where the greek mainland was not considered part of it even in ancient times.
And what the hell do genetics have to do with a geographic designation?