Lifesaving swimming skills for multicultural women

30 May 2016

Women from culturally and linguistically diverse (CaLD) backgrounds who have never had the opportunity to participate in swimming lessons are learning to Swim and Survive at Cannington, Balga and Merriwa.

The Royal Life Saving Society WA, in partnership with the Department of Sport and Recreation and the Office of Multicultural Interests, run women’s only swimming lessons for women from CaLD backgrounds, as part of our campaign to reduce the over-representation of this segment of our society in drowning statistics.

A review of drowning data over the past 5 years indicates there have been 50 drowning deaths in WA involving members of the CaLD community, which represents 37% of all drowning deaths. Limited water safety awareness combined with alarmingly low participation levels in swimming and water safety programs are contributing factors in this over-representation of CaLD community members in the Western Australian Drowning Report.

In light of the deaths of two Vietnamese women from Western Australia in the pool of a Queensland resort earlier this year it is even more vital that women from CaLD backgrounds are aware that these swimming lessons are available and designed specifically for them.

Jen Mickle, Inclusion Coordinator at Royal Life Saving Society WA says “Often swimming and water safety education is overlooked by new migrants due to barriers such as cost and availability. It is clear that greater effort and new ways to effectively address these barriers to participation need to be found so that swimming, lifesaving and community education programs are appropriate and accessible to all Australians.”

The CaLD Swimming and Water Safety Education program is now in its 6th year, with programs running across the Perth metropolitan area at Leisurepark Balga, The Swim School Merriwa and Cannington Leisureplex.

This term there are 25 women involved at Balga, 15 at Merriwa and 39 at Cannington. These women complete a full set of eight lessons and will receive a Swim and Survive certificate at the end of the program which will report their progress and highlight the skills they have acquired.

Ms Mickle says “This program gives women the opportunity to experience learning to swim as an enjoyable pastime, and enables them to enjoy something that is an important part of Australian life.”

If you would like to know more about our Women's Only swimming lessons click the link below.

women in the pool at Balga during their swim and survive lessos