Regional children become river ready

24 June 2022

group of Aboriginal children at a River Ready courseRegional WA children have been getting ‘River Ready’ thanks to the delivery of Royal Life Saving WA’s Respect the River Program throughout the year. 

The latest WA Drowning Report found that 15.4% of all drowning incidents occur at inland waterways like rivers and creeks. Aiming to turn these statistics around, Royal Life Saving works throughout the year to ensure swimming and lifesaving programs are made available for children in regional and remote areas, with a special focus on remote aboriginal communities.

'Respect the River’ aims to teach children how to safely enjoy WA’s many rivers, lakes, and dams, particularly important for remote communities where the wet season often creates unpredictable environments. Throughout the course, children in the Kimberley, Pilbara, Gascoyne, Southwest, and Midwest developed skills to stay safe at their local waterway, where currents, undertows and submerged objects can make even tranquil looking rivers potentially dangerous. 

Aboriginal children learning rescue skills at a riverJonnine Rowe, Inland Waterways Coordinator, says the Kimberley region has one of the highest inland waterways drowning rates in the state.

“Programs like these help to provide vital water safety skills to people in our most at-risk communities, particularly in regional and remote Western Australia,” she said.

Thanks to funding from the Australian Government, the program has successfully provided children with the techniques to ensure personal safety, including assessing the water colour and clarity, checking depth with a pole and entering the water by wading rather than diving in. In addition, children are also reminded of the importance of never swimming alone and to tell someone where they are going. 

Through the delivery of the Respect the River program, children throughout regional WA are now equipped with the skills and knowledge to enjoy our inland waterways safely!

To learn more about the program, river safety information and register your interest to book a program, visit the link the below. 

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