Drowning message gets splash of colour thanks to street artist

London street artist EyeSaw – AKA Paul Cottie – has put drowning prevention in the picture by
painting a 2m high mural in the Cotswolds.

Carrying the clear message ‘Think before you sink’, the artwork was created to mark World
Drowning Prevention Day and was commissioned by swimming charity SwimTayka.

Every year worldwide, around 236,000 people drown, and drowning is the third leading cause of
unintentional injury death, accounting for 7 per cent of all injury-related deaths.

“We really happy with Paul’s artwork, which gives a clear message about water safety,” said
SwimTayka founder Bryan Avery, a keen open water swimmer from Swindon. “It’s an eye-catching
way to remind people that, while the water is great to swim in, they need to respect it and to take

The artist Paul Cottie, whose tag is EyeSaw, is an occasional open water swimmer himself, but now
says he’s now been inspired to go more often.

SwimTayka runs free swimming programmes in countries include Brazil, Peru, Jamaica and
Mozambique, where learning to swim isn’t part of the local culture, yet children are at risk because
they are living alongside water. It recruits volunteer swim instructors to visit the programmes, and
run the swimming and drowning prevention courses.

By commissioning the mural, SwimTayka hopes to raise awareness of the importance of water
safety. Next year, the charity also plans to launch free UK swimming courses.

Much of SwimTayka’s funds come through organising yearly Channel relay swims, for those who
want to take on the challenge of swimming the English Channel and raise money at the same time. It
is now recruiting for its relay teams for 2024.

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