VacSwim making an impact in regional WA

21 December 2016

Thousands of country children are learning to Swim and Survive this week through the VacSwim Early Start program across regional WA. Children are taking part in lessons at 39 locations from Mukinbudin to Narrogin, Perenjori to Wongan Hills.

Royal Life Saving Society WA is supporting the Department of Education with its Vacswim Program which seeks to provide all children across our state with the opportunity to learn vital Swim and Survive skills.

In WA we are blessed with many rivers, lakes and pools, and water activity is a thriving part of our culture. For this reason we need to focus on encouraging all members of our community to learn Swim and Survive skills.

The challenge we face is to ensure each new generation acquires these lifesaving skills and that no one misses out. Currently, sectors of our community from diverse cultural backgrounds, disadvantaged circumstances and regional areas do not always have this opportunity, which is where VacSwim is making such a valuable impact.

Teaching children personal survival skills and water safety is the most important investment the community can make to reduce drowning and it has proven to be effective with children now the least likely of all age groups to drown.

This year Royal Life Saving Society WA has worked closely with the Department of Education to introduce a range of innovations with the aim of increasing retention in the program to ensure young people stay involved long enough to achieve their Bronze Medallion. We’ve revised the higher stages of Swim and Survive, ensuring the program is fun, challenging and advances children beyond the ability to simply swim a few laps. The skills acquired can also lead towards a potential career as a swim instructor or lifeguard.

We’ve also provided a range of new equipment cages that include lifejackets, rescue manikins and other instructional equipment to improve learning and skill acquisition for those participating. And we’ve conducted professional development sessions with VacSwim instructors to ensure they’re well prepared to teach the new curriculum.

We wish all West Australian children the best as they take part in the VacSwim program over the summer, and encourage all parents to consider enrolling their children in the program.