Record numbers learning to swim and survive

16 January 2018
For those born in WA, it can be hard to believe that people arriving here from overseas often don’t have basic swimming and water-safety skills. Sadly, this can have tragic consequences, and between 1st July 2006 and 30th June 2016, drowning data indicates that 33.3% of drownings in WA involved people from Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CaLD) backgrounds.

As we work to address this, Royal Life Saving Society WA is active in CaLD communities to ensure West Australians from all backgrounds have an opportunity to learn vital swimming and water-safety skills.
Little girl in swimming cap and goggles
Thirty-one children are learning these crucial skills at Ballajura Aquatic Centre, as part of their Holiday Swim & Survive lessons.

The program is for children aged 4-14 years, and targets those from CaLD backgrounds throughout the City of Swan. It’s vital that these children learn key swimming and water safety knowledge as they’ll be drawn to water-based recreation during the summer holidays.

The City of Swan is a high risk, low socio-economic area and Royal Life Saving is working particularly hard to provide swimming & water safety programs and key messages to this community. Statistics recorded between 1st July 2006 and 30th June 2016 indicate that the City of Swan is the 7th-highest risk Local Government region for fatal drownings in our state.

Over the same period, 44 people were hospitalised following a non-fatal drowning incident in the City of Swan, the 3rd-highest number of non-fatal drownings recorded in any metropolitan local government area.

Working with key community groups such as the Metropolitan Migrant Resource Centre and Edmund Rice Centre, Royal Life Saving is determined to turn these statistics around, and it seems the local community is keen to get on board.
Teacher in the pool with three students
The program at Ballajura filled very quickly with many more people missing out on a place. These families are waiting for more similar programs to be held in the area over the summer months.

This program is supported by Principal Community Partner BHP as part of their sponsorship of our Swim and Survive Access and Equity initiative.