How Can Leisure Facilities Reduce National Drowning Statistics?

The recently released Royal Life Saving Society – Australia (RLSSA) National Drowning Report 2011 reveals 315 people drowned in the past 12 months.  Drowning deaths are now at their highest level since 2003 and have jumped by 11% when compared to the 5 year average.  Rob Bradley, CEO of Royal Life Saving Society Australia (RLSSA) says “the new report highlights the challenges of reducing drowning in line with the Australian Water Safety Council’s (AWSC) goal of a 50% reduction by the year 2020”.

Whilst 2011 figures have been impacted by the significant flash flooding events and widespread flooding across the eastern states of Australia and there is no specific information regarding drownings in leisure facilities (only swimming pool locations), this report serves as a reminder of the important role that leisure facilities must play in reducing drowning across Australia to achieve the AWSC 2020 goal.

The role leisure facilities have to play focuses around learn to swim and water safety awareness and education programs.  So who and what should be our focus?  Let’s look at the statistics to work this out.

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Loren Bartley

Loren Bartley is the Executive Officer of ALFA and a life-long aquatics enthusiast. A former competitive swimmer and lifesaver, Loren has never been far from the pool. Loren's employment history has included the roles of Lifeguard, Duty Manager, Swim Teacher, Aqua Instructor, Lifeguard Trainer, Aquatics Manager and even CEO of Masters Swimming Australia, not to mention all the other sports she has worked with. These days Loren has swapped her goggles for the gym, but still gets to the pool once a week to watch her three kids in swimming lessons.

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25 Ways To Educate Parents On The Importance Of Water Safety In Swimming Lessons

The fact that over 50,000 NSW school students will finish years 6 this year not being able to swim is a very frightening statistic.  Furthermore, the comments from Swim School Coordinator’s that some parents would rather miss a water safety lesson (in Water Safety Week) and consider it a “waste of money and time” or to want a makeup lesson in place of the water safety class is unfortunately all too common within swim schools.

Aquatic and Recreation Institute (ARI) recently conducted a Water Safety Workshop to address these and other issues raised at the ARI AUSTSWIM Swim School Coordinator’s Forum held back in March 2011.  The objectives of the day were to develop some suggested solutions for swim schools to improve the promotion of water safety and to also assist with incorporating water safety skills into their classes (if they are not already doing so).

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Roz Hughes

Roz Hughes, Facility Manager Aquatic Safety Training Academy. Roz has been in the industry since 1979 in a range of position from Lifeguard/Swim Teacher to Programs and Operations Coordinator roles. Roz is a committee member of Aquatic and Recreation Institute, a committee member on NSW State Advisory Council for AUSTSWIM and ALFA representative on AUSTSWIM National Board.

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NSW School Learn To Swim and Water Safety Survey Results 2011

The Aquatic Recreation Institute NSW ARI conducted a survey of metropolitan schools in Sydney to ascertain some information on Learn to Swim and Water Safety programs conducted in schools.

The survey was sent to over three hundred schools (public, catholic and independent) and 44 responses were received. Of the 44 responses 77.3% were public schools, 9.1% were catholic and 13.6% were independent schools. [Read more...]

Roz Hughes

Roz Hughes, Facility Manager Aquatic Safety Training Academy. Roz has been in the industry since 1979 in a range of position from Lifeguard/Swim Teacher to Programs and Operations Coordinator roles. Roz is a committee member of Aquatic and Recreation Institute, a committee member on NSW State Advisory Council for AUSTSWIM and ALFA representative on AUSTSWIM National Board.

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