Western Desert kids learn vital water safety skills

11 November 2021

An Aboriginal children with a rescue tube standing on the edge of the pool with swim instructor Zoe RossChildren across WA’s Western Desert region recently had a great opportunity to learn vital swimming and water safety skills ahead of summer. Drowning statistics show that people in regional parts of WA are 3.8 times more likely to drown than those in the Perth metro area, while Aboriginal children aged 5-14 are 8.6 times more likely to fatally drown than non-Aboriginal children in WA.

As we work hard to address these statistics Royal Life Saving WA recently sent Swim Instructor Zoe Ross to the Western Desert region, working alongside Ngurra Kujungka Sports Development Officer Demi Okely to conduct water safety lessons. The lessons happened over the first week of November, with children from Warralong School, Parnngurr School and Newman’s Martu Education Centre taking part.Two Aboriginal children rescuing their friend from a pool with a rescue tube

The children enjoyed learning a range of survival skills to keep themselves safe in the water, including treading water, sculling, floating and survival swimming strokes. Zoe also explained a range of different types of safe entries into the pool and where children might use these entries. Apart from learning skills to keep themselves safe in the water, they also learnt a range of rescue techniques they can use to help save someone who might get into trouble. The children then had a whole lot of fun practising rescuing each other using paddle boards and a rescue tube. Zoe also provided some relevant examples of what can be used in the outback to help save someone, such as an esky lid, rope or a long stick.

Ngurra Kujungka Inc is the Western Desert’s first community driven regional sport and recreation organisation, ensuring tailored programs are delivered to local communities in order to improve health, sport, recreation and employment outcomes for the people of the Western Desert. Royal Life Saving WA looks forward to continuing to partner with the organisation to train its recreational officers up with their Bronze Medallion qualification, while some have expressed an interest in becoming Pool Lifeguards.

You can read more about our important work in Aboriginal communities across WA at the link below.

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