Matthew Merritt

Community Trainer and Lifeguard at Bayswater Waves

Matthew Merritt has a passion for the aquatic industry. Starting as a swim instructor 9 years ago, he’s been a community trainer with Royal Life Saving Society WA for seven years, leading a range of courses including First Aid, Bronze Medallion, and Pool Lifeguard training.

As a Lifeguard at the Bayswater Waves aquatic centre he’s seen firsthand the impact our Watch Around Water program has had on improving safety for children attending public pools. Matthew says the program’s message for parents is simple

“Drowning can happen in the smallest amount of water and while lifeguards are there to take action when incidents happen, and are being proactive in trying to enforce Watch Around Water, it’s the parents who are the first line of defence in preventing drownings.”

Watch Around Water was implemented in 2004, following a spate of drowning deaths involving young children at public swimming pools, and has been a real success story for Royal Life Saving Society WA. Since it started there have been no drowning deaths at public pools across WA, and Matthew says that speaks for itself. “The Watch Around Water program has been amazing and I have no doubt it will remain in place.  What we are doing at the moment is being quite effective in WA. We’re obviously doing something right in that for the past 10 years we haven’t had a child drown in a public WA pool.”

Matthew also hopes more people across the community take up the challenge of learning essential first aid and pool lifeguard skills;

“These skills can be applied not only to pools but also anywhere that parents go around water with kids; the beach, lakes, dams, excursions, so getting as much of the community involved; not only parents but teachers and carers, I think it’s really important."

image of Matthew Merritt by the pool at bayswater Waves