Victoria’s vulnerable swimmers are being helped by a range of new initiatives this season, as news of the 2018/19 Victorian summer drowning toll reaches 20, marking the worst start to summer for almost 15 years.
A ‘Vulnerable Swimmers Research’ project is well underway targeting vulnerable swimmers at public pools. Following extensive research and a partnership with creative agency ‘Chorus’, newly developed resources are the centrepiece of this unique awareness campaign, which will be trialled at selected facilities from February.
A relaunch of the ‘Community Awards Program’ is also planned for February, providing easy access to water safety and first aid training tor aquatic facilities, school and community groups. The program will enable easy access to high-quality training resources and support to underpin improved awareness, skills and techniques across Victorian communities.
Adult water safety education is also extending into the open water environment with the Grey Medallion qualification for over 55’s to be delivered as an Open Water Learning Experience, following a successful pilot program.
Changes to the Victorian Curriculum implemented in 2017 have also made swimming and water safety education mandatory in schools. This has been echoed recently with national calls for compulsory swimming in schools, highlighting a need to focus on this issue Australia-wide.
Through the Public Water Safety initiative, LSV is pleased to be working closely with the Victorian Department of Education to develop resources and offer professional development and training in aquatic qualifications for teachers, parents, VCE/VET students and pre-service teachers. A swimming and water safety education online toolkit will be launched in the coming weeks – keep an eye out for the toolkit launch!
Alongside this, LSV’s Education team is also predicting record participant numbers taking part in its award-winning Sink or Swim and OWLE programs with almost 40,000 students already set to take part.
Innovation is a key focus for the LSV Education team, including virtual reality (VR) resources to engage school-aged children in water safety education, which were also launched recently at www.lsv.com.au/vr.
More initiatives in this space are also in development to roll out for the next season.