Welcome to the first edition of the Life Saving Victoria (LSV) ‘Education from Anywhere’ newsletter for the 2018 school year.
It has been an interesting summer period to date with some extraordinary hot weather and thousands of visitors to Victorian waterways. Tragically, there have been 17 reported drowning deaths in Victoria since the start of summer, 10 more than the 5 year average (2012/13-2016/17). This is the highest number we have seen since detailed records began in 2000.
With twelve of these incidents occurring in coastal waterways, it is an important reminder to communities that learning how to identify and avoid a rip current is essential for beachgoers.
For information on rip currents and to find out where patrolled locations are, visit beachsafe.org.au. Multilingual resources can also be found at beachsafe.org.au/surf-safety/multilingual, with guides on how to enjoy the beach safely. Please share these resources with the families in your school community.
LSV have identified the need to explore innovative ways to educate the community and children to be able to identify rip currents. As a result, we are embarking on exciting projects to develop virtual reality content that will enable us to bring aquatic environments, water safety education and hazard identification into the classroom – Watch this space!
With regards to school swimming and water safety, LSV thinks it is fantastic that Victoria has had two big breakthroughs in the past twelve months; the inclusion of swimming and water safety in the Victorian Curriculum and the State Government investment of $9.15M over the next three years to support school swimming and water safety.
LSV is looking forward to working together with the Department of Education, schools, parents and the aquatic industry (swim schools and swimming pool managers) to implement programs in the best possible way. A coordinated effort is required if we are to ensure the success of this initiative to increase the swimming competency of Victorian children.
I’m also pleased to advise that we have recently launched a new online ordering system to enhance the administration processing and monitoring of the Victorian Water Safety Certificate.
Finally, while we encourage people to get outdoors and experience the wonderful waterways Victoria has to offer, we want everyone to come home safely from a day at the beach, river or by the pool. We’re urging teachers, parents and carers to actively supervise children around water with an important reminder that it only takes 20 seconds for a child to drown.
On behalf of LSV, I wish you all the very best for the school year ahead.
Dr Nigel Taylor
CEO, Life Saving Victoria
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