COVID-19 Pandemic and the case for re-opening aquatic centres and swim schools

1 May 2020

This position is current as at 2pm on 1st May 2020

The economic impacts of COVID-19 on aquatic centres continues to be significant. In Western Australia 140 public aquatic facilities have been closed that employ over 4,000 lifeguards, instructors and supervisors.

The health and social impacts of closing aquatic centres is equally significant. Building swimming and water safety skills in school aged children is vital work and the single most important investment we can make as a community to prevent drowning.

Royal Life Saving has been approached by many who are seeking advice and reassurance that aquatic centres would soon re-open, as well as plans and ideas for recovery. Royal Life Saving has conducted an analysis of measures that aquatic centres can use to adapt to the requirements of COVID-19 public health measures. These cover personal hygiene, social distancing and physical contact and can be read in full here.

To return to normal operations in the weeks and months ahead further assistance will be required to ensure:

  • Children and vulnerable populations have access to swimming and water safety education.
  • Facilities meet community needs for fun, fitness and good health.
  • A qualified workforce to provide these services


In this regard Royal Life Saving calls on government (state and local) to consider the recommendations below:

  • Providing funding to enable aquatic centres are fully operational in spring and well before summer 2020/21. 
  • Stimulating a return to structured swimming and water safety activities by:
  • Funding school swimming programs for all schools including transport and entry costs assistance,
  • Investing in the October and Summer Vacswim programs, 
  • Investing in kids vouchers for swimming and water safety education. 
  • Supporting the aquatic recreation workforce and
  • Stimulating investment in aquatic centre infrastructure.


Peter Leaversuch

Chief Executive Officer -  Royal Life Saving WA

You can read the full statement at the link below.

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