Newman children learn vital swimming and water safety skills

4 January 2021

Students at Newman’s Martu Education Centre recently enjoyed a Swim and Survive program at the local aquatic centre, as they prepared to safely enjoy water activities this summer. The Martu Education Centre provides literacy and numeracy support to Martu students from primary schools in Newman.

A swim instructor helping an Aboriginal children learn to swim in a poolThe Swim & Survive program is of huge importance in remote and regional communities, with recent data finding that Aboriginal children are 14 times more likely to be involved in a fatal drowning incident than non-Aboriginal children in our state. Overall, half of children who fatally drowned over the past ten years were Aboriginal. A review of drowning data indicates limited water safety awareness combined with alarmingly low participation levels in swimming and water safety programs as key factors.

The recent program saw 12 Martu children enjoy lessons after school during Term Four 2020. The lessons are designed to build confidence and teach essential water-safety skills that can be applied in all aquatic environments and were made possible thanks to ongoing support from the Shire of East Pilbara, Pool Manager Mel Warren, and key partners the Polly Farmer Foundation, BHP and Healthway.

Martu Education Centre’s Virginia McMaster says the lessons have been invaluable for the local children. “We really appreciate the continued support of Royal Life Saving WA. Your commitment to providing swim lessons was evident as our Martu Education Centre tutors saw EVERY student leave the edge of the pool and swim to the lane rope and back again. This was a major achievement as over the last few years we had children not leaving the edge of the pool and some not very confident in the pool.”

Royal Life Saving looks forward to continuing our partnership with the Martu Education Centre and the Newman community to ensure local children have an opportunity to learn skills that enable them to enjoy water activities safely.

Learn more about our Swim and Survive program's work in regional communities at the link below.

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