LSV Education Team Hits the Road to Showcase Water Safety Awareness to Students

Term 4 is coming to a close, and with it another round of LSV’s award-winning Sink or Swim and Open Water Learning Experience (OWLE) programs across the state, including Greater Western, Gippsland, Loddon Mallee and Hume regions for Sink or Swim and Creswick, Bendigo, Inverloch and Wonthaggi regions for OWLE.

As part of the Sink or Swim programs, over 8,000 students across regions deemed ‘at risk’ for drowning death and injury were delivered the 1-hour interactive program free of charge.

LSV Water Safety Education Manager Melissa Laird said it’s important students are aware and prepared for a range of aquatic environments, particularly open water settings including rivers, lakes, dams and creeks.

“Sink or Swim enhances a school’s water safety programs or prepares students for upcoming aquatic recreation excursions and camps,” Ms Laird said. “It’s about teaching students to make safe choices in aquatic environments, as well as informing them about hidden dangers in waterways to reduce the drowning rate in their local area.’’

She says the program is more relevant than ever, following the release of the Victorian Drowning Report, which revealed inland waterways as the main location of drownings in Victoria.

The program was developed in 2012 in direct response to the issue of child drowning and the need for inland water safety education to teach Australians to Respect the River. It’s delivered thanks to the support of the State Government’s Play it Safe by the Water campaign and Murrindindi and Campaspe shire councils.

Along the coast, vital lifesaving skills were taught to students as part of LSV’s Open Water Learning Experience (OWLE) program, educating about the importance of water safety as the warmer weather sets in.

As part of the OWLE program, LSV education instructors delivered a 2-hour practical program that included fun and educational activities to familiarise students with their local open water environments.

“The program is a great opportunity to get students out of the classroom and help them become familiar with their local open water environment in a fun and interactive way,” says Jess Acocks, LSV Education Programs Coordinator. “As part of the two-week tour, we educated up to 1,000 students on how to enjoy the water safely, as well as equipping them with the skills to assist others in an emergency. We are looking forward to continuing to deliver the program in Term 1, 2018.”

The Open Water Learning Experience aims to empower students with knowledge on how to be water ready when in and around water, as well as practical strategies, such as identifying dangers such as rip currents and understanding key safety signs.

Students are also given the skills and opportunity to be ‘Everyday Lifesavers’ with a variety of age-appropriate and engaging real-life scenarios, as they learn the emergency response sequence, DRSABCD.

The program is delivered thanks to the State Government’s Play It Safe by the Water campaign and the Royal Life Saving Society Australia’s Respect the River campaign, funded by the Federal Government.

Torquay’s St Therese’s Primary School took part in one of the OWLE programs, with principal Mandy Doolan saying the students were raving about it.

“They said it was loads of fun, but also very informative,” says Ms Doolan. “We thank you for giving us this opportunity.”

Year 6 student Laura commented: “We learnt about currents, basic CPR and how to use a defibrillator. We learnt how to use random tools to save someone in the water and the tools that lifeguards use. We learnt if there was a situation at sea, how to stay together and stay warm, and to help the ones that need the help the most, as well as how to make sure no one would float away at night. Also, the boogie boards were such a highlight and the instructors were super kind. We all had an exciting, educational, fun time in and out of the water!! I would definitely recommend this to others.”

Both programs  align with the Victorian Curriculum and the program is supported by free online resources and cross-curriculum lesson plans for Foundation (Prep) to Year 10 – downloadable at

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