Inland waterways continue to be a leading location for drowning in Australia with 75 deaths occurring in rivers, creeks, streams, lakes, dams and lagoons the last financial year. (Royal Life Saving – National Drowning Report 2016). In an effort to reduce these figures, Life Saving Victoria in partnership with the Royal Life Saving Society – Australia has developed a new accredited training course, the Inland Waterways Life Saving Certificate.
The course is designed to complement the Respect the River program, which is now in its third year. This initiative aims to raise awareness of the hazards at rivers and encourage people to ‘respect’ this type of aquatic environment and ensure they are able to visit and enjoy these locations safely.
“Inland waterways present different types of risks to pools, beach and ocean open waterways,” says Andy Dennis, Life Saving Victoria General Manager – Public Training and Pool Safety.
“Development of a new course dedicated to addressing the particularities and risks of inland waterways enables those supervising and instructing students in these environments to be better qualified and better prepared,” said Mr Dennis.
Based on input from a number of key water safety agencies, the new course takes into consideration the needs of school teachers, instructors and other outdoor recreation supervisors, who are responsible for the safety of others in an inland waterway environment.
This active and engaging two-day course consists of theory and practical components, covering skills and knowledge to be able to plan for aquatic safety, emergency response and supervise students participating in recreational activities in inland waterways.
Participants will gain vital skills including communication, aquatic awareness and rescue techniques.
Mr Dennis says the course is ideal for teachers and support staff associated with activities or events taking place at or near inland waterway locations.
“We also recommend the course for inland industry representatives across activities such as boating, kayaking and canoeing, as well as those involved in camps and aquatic tour operations.”
Two successful trials were conducted in November last year to staff members at Aquazone – Lake Mulwala, a brand new aquatic adventure park located on the Murray River on the Victorian, NSW border.
The course is now being delivered to groups throughout Victoria and resources will soon be available to all Royal Life Saving State and Territories.