Many of the drowning deaths on Australian beaches can be attributed to foreign beach goers who don’t know how to swim and who have no local knowledge of the dangers in our coastal waters.
Surf Life Saving Club New South Wales have begun a program in the hope of reducing those figures and the first 18 graduates of a new ground-breaking water safety and learn to swim program completed their assessments and received their certificates at Coogee Surf Life Saving Club on Saturday.
The Beach Ocean Safety (BOS Program) is a new initiative allowing surf clubs to engage with the wider community and offer entry level certificates to those completing the course.
A collaborative project
The program is a joint project delivered in collaboration with the University of NSW Health Promotions, UNSW Fitness and Aquatic Centre and Coogee Surf Life Saving Club in response to the high number of international students who have drowned over the last 10 years.
Water and beach culture are part of the Australian experience, yet many international students do not know how to swim and most lack a basic understanding of beach safety.
The UNSW began an International Student Learn to Swim Program several years ago after six students drowned in 2016-2017. Almost 600 participants have graduated from the learn to swim program to date.
Targeted beach safety program
The new targeted beach safety program extends that now to provide international students with the knowledge, skills, and awareness they need to safely enjoy the Australian beach.
The students have participated in a variety of theoretical and practical sessions with Coogee Surf Life Saving Club trainers and lifesavers over recent weeks, including three full-day sessions at the beach.
Participants learn about signage at beaches, different wave types, how to spot and avoid rip currents, basic CPR and first aid and sun safety.