New Endorsed Swim Schools in the Pilbara

29 February 2016

In WA’s culture and climate it’s essential all children have Swim and Survive skills.image of a parent and swim instructor assisting a toddler to float on her back with a swim and survive kickboard

Drowning remains one of the leading causes of preventable death in children, and recent research shows 40 children under the age of 5, and 18 children aged 5-14 drowned in WA over the past 10 years.

The research also found children are five times more likely to drown in regional and remote areas of Western Australia than in the Perth metropolitan area, and are also more likely to drown while swimming at inland waterway locations such as rivers, creeks and dams.

With this in mind Royal Life Saving Society WA has signed up two new endorsed swim schools in Port Hedland and South Hedland. The Gratwick Aquatic Centre and South Hedland Aquatic Centre have committed to providing the absolute best in aquatic education through the use of qualified instructors, small class sizes, safe aquatic environments and the use of the Royal Life Saving Swim & Survive, Infant Aquatics, Bronze Rescue and Junior Lifeguard Club swimming & water safety programs.

The programs will be facilitated by a new Aquatics Development Officer; Raelene Leeds, who is based in South Hedland. Working jointly for Royal Life Saving Society WA and the YMCA, Raelene will coordinate the swim school’s activities.

Royal Life Saving Society WA Senior Manager Swimming and Water Safety Education, Trent Hotchkin, traveled to Hedland late last week to visit Raelene and have a look at how the programs are going at the centres. The parents and children taking part in an Infant Aquatics Duck Stage 6 program at the time were thoroughly enjoying their class with instructor Sam, and the classes are proving very popular.

Trent says “the Swim & Survive program is designed to provide essential swimming, water safety and survival skills to prepare children for a lifetime of safe activity in, on and around the water. It's a broad and balanced swimming and water safety program that identifies 12 critical stages in a child’s development. The lower stages focus on teaching efficient support and movement in the water while the higher stages include skill and knowledge in safety, survival and rescue.”

group of parents and toddlers enjoying an Infant Aquatics lesson with an instructor in the pool at Hedland

This year Royal Life Saving Society WA, with support from Principal Partner BHP Billiton and the Department of Sport and Recreation, is aiming to teach over 200,000 Western Australian children to Swim and Survive, to ensure they are not only taught ‘how’ to swim but also ‘when and where’ to do so safely.

We’re encouraging all parents to enrol their children in Swim and Survive programs, and urge families in Hedland to contact the centres for further details.

  • Gratwick Aquatic Centre 9173 3303
  • South Hedland Aquatic Centre 9172 4666

Learn more about our Swim and Survive Program.

Find an Endorsed Swim School near you.