Scouts learn to stay safe on inland waterways

10 October 2017

Nearly 400 adventurous West Australian Scouts learnt about inland waterway safety in a fun few days on the Swan River recently. It was all part of Scouts WA’s annual Campwest event, which took place over four action-packed days during the school holidays.

Royal Life Saving WA ran activities and talks focused on canoeing safety during the event, with the Scouts learning how to use throw ropes and rescue tubes while canoeing, enabling them to increase their knowledge of water safety while having fun around WA’s inland waterways. These skills are especially important for young West Australians as we head into the summer months.

“It was great to incorporate RLSSWA’s activities with our canoeing,” Scouts WA canoe guide David Brown said. “RLSSWA adapted and evolved the activities to be more engaging, and even got the Scouts who didn’t want to go canoeing involved in their activities, which was great to see. This was all despite the cold mornings and warm afternoons!”

It’s hoped that “Respect the River” initiatives such as this will play a part in lowering the increasing number of drowning deaths occurring around WA's inland waterways. “Just over one-quarter of all drowning deaths in Western Australia in 2016/17 occurred in inland waterways such as rivers, creeks, streams, lakes, dams and lagoons,” Lauren Nimmo, RLSSWA Senior Manager, Health Promotion and Research, says. “This represents a 23% increase on the 5% recorded in 2015/16.”

Young children and adolescents between the ages of five and 24 accounted for five drowning deaths in inland waterways last year.

This ‘Respect the River’ program was made possible with contributions from Royal Life Saving Society Australia and the Federal Government.