Leinster families learn vital Swim and Survive skills

31 March 2021

For children in regional and remote areas of Western Australia swimming and water safety skills are vitally important. Often though, due to a lack of instructors and facilities, they miss out on learning these skills.

Families in the town of Leinster, in WA’s Goldfields-Esperance region, recently had an opportunity to take part in a week of subsidised, intensive Swim and Survive lessons thanks to funding from Royal Life Saving WA’s Principal Community Partner BHP.

The latest National Drowning report highlighted the fact that 57% of WA's drowning deaths happened outside the metro area in 2019-20, with people 3.8 times more likely to drown in regional and remote areas of WA. The provision of Swim and Survive programming in these areas is therefore crucial as we work to turn these figures around.

During the recent week long program eight children, along with their parents, took part in Infant Aquatics lessons, while 27 children enjoyed Swim and Survive lessons and seven school teachers took on the challenge of completing their Bronze Medallion! Instructor Nicole Durrant travelled from Perth to Leinster to teach the lessons and says it was extremely worthwhile for those who took part.

“The participants made great progress throughout the week! Although the pool was cooler than students may have liked I managed to engage them all, increasing their swimming and water safety skills and knowledge. I also got some of the parents involved in a mini Heart Beat Club as part of the infant classes, talking about the importance of knowing CPR and how to respond in an emergency.”

Trent Hotchkin, Senior Manager Education at Royal Life Saving WA says history has shown the outstanding success of the Swim & Survive Program. “Since its introduction in 1982 drowning rates in Australia for 5–14-year-olds have fallen from 7.1 to 0.55 per 100,000 population. This reduction is probably not equalled or bettered in any part of the world and can be directly attributed to the work of swimming & water safety programs such as Swim & Survive.”

Being a small regional town, finding swimming instructors can often be challenging for Leinster. The fact that we were able to send an instructor from Perth to make these lessons a reality was made possible thanks to BHP’s support. Royal Life Saving WA is currently working to train swimming instructors in regional WA, building the capacity of local communities to provide these programs on a regular basis.

You can find out more about our Swim Teacher by Royal Life Saving program and get involved at the link below.

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