Port Hedland multicultural women dip into Swim and Survive

22 October 2018

Royal Life Saving, in partnership with Pilbara Legal Services and proudly supported by the Town of Port Hedland and BHP, have begun a Multicultural Women’s Only Swim & Survive program in Port Hedland.

Alarmingly, over the past ten years 137 people have drowned in Western Australia who were born overseas, accounting for 40% of drowning deaths. Overall, 43% of drowning deaths involved people who’d been living in Australia for 10 years or more while 15% had recently migrated to WA, with India, Ireland, Malaysia and the UK the most common places of birth. Action is required to assist people from multicultural communities to take part in vital swimming & water safety education.

At the beginning of the program in Port Hedland, most of the participants lacked basic swimming and water safety skills; some had never been submerged under water or taken their feet off the bottom of the pool - until their first lesson last week.

The keen participants range from all age groups, the youngest is 25 years old and the oldest is 60 years old. The ladies are very determined to achieve their Swim and Survive goals of learning essential swimming and water safety skills and are all working hard to overcome their initial fears and anxiety in the water.

Multicultural women in the pool with their instructor at Port HedlandRLSSWA Pilbara Development Officer Jacqui Forbes commented ‘The support the women show one another is extremely special to witness and beneficial for them all to complete their Swim and Survive training together. The lessons are more than just saving lives, they also have a great social outcome of bringing groups together and social bonding.’

80% of participants have lived in Australia for less than 5 years with one participant having only lived in Australia for 4 months. The participants are from all over the world and now call Australia home. Participants hail from Indonesia, Malaysia, The Philippines, India and Zimbabwe.

Trent Hotchkin, RLSSWA Senior Manager, added ‘Often it is the case that newly arrived migrants or people born overseas are unfamiliar with the risks associated with water or other injuries that occur, which is why Royal Life Saving are actively working with and educating multicultural groups and local communities, inspiring them to participate in lessons that break down the usual barriers to participation.’

Learning to Swim and Survive is a vital life skill that all participants need for safe recreation on, in and around water. The Swim and Survive program identifies 16 critical stages in a participant’s development. The lower stages focus on teaching efficient support and movement in the water. The higher stages include skill and knowledge in safety, survival and rescue, all while developing a strong and effective swimming technique.

The Royals wish the newly formed Women’s Only Swim and Survive group in Port Hedland the very best in their endeavours to learn vital water and swimming safety skills.

For more information on The Royals impact in the Pilbara, please click the link below.

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