Port Hedland children learn lifesaving skills

11 April 2019

Children in the Pilbara will head into the upcoming school holidays with some extra water safety skills under their belt, after taking part in lifesaving events as part of their recent school swimming carnivals at the South Hedland Aquatic Centre.

All five Port Hedland primary schools have incorporated lifesaving events in their carnivals over the past few weeks, thanks to assistance from local Royal Life Saving staff who have loaned rescue equipment to the schools. The lifesaving events replaced some of the traditional novelty events schools include at their carnivals, and were enjoyed by the children taking part.

One of the schools that got involved included Cassia Primary School, who are fortunate enough to have a Physical Education teacher who is very aware of the importance of water safety skills. Lourens Viljoen not only teaches PE at Cassia, but is also a Swim and Survive Swim Instructor and recently taught the first ever Men's Only Swimming lessons for multicultural men in Port Hedland.

Lourens says the lifesaving activities are vital for the children at his school. “Many of our students do not have access to regular swimming lessons, and with a multicultural school such as ours, it is important that we teach the skills of lifesaving so we are able to take care of not only each other, but also members of our families when in the water. Whether that be at the beach, a local river, water hole or backyard pool.”

During the carnival the students had an opportunity to use lifejackets, throw ropes, rescue mannequins and rescue tubes, which enabled some of them to go into the deeper part of the pool they cannot always access during swimming carnivals. Lourens says the events were thoroughly enjoyed and he encourages other WA schools to add a lifesaving component into their carnivals. “Whether a school has a high amount of competent swimmers or not, these events can help us to improve the safety of not just our kids but the members of the communities and the families within our school networks.”

Royal Life Saving WA commends all the schools who added lifesaving to their recent carnivals, including the Cassia, Port Hedland, Baler, St Cecilia and South Hedland Primary Schools. We look forward to seeing more WA schools include this lifesaving component into their carnivals throughout the coming year.

The sport of Pool Lifesaving is proudly supported by the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries.

If you would like to know more about including pool lifesaving in your school carnival or regular school sports program please click the link below for further information.

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