Life Saving Victoria’s Education team is delivering its sixth Open Water Learning Experience (OWLE) regional tour in East Gippsland this week, as part of a seven-week regional tour schedule.
This week’s visits to Lakes Entrance, Paynesville and Woodside comprise part of a project to educate over 4,000 students across Victoria during term four 2018 and term one 2019.
“OWLE programs are designed to empower students to make safe aquatic related decisions while enjoying their local waterway,” says LSV Community Education Projects Coordinator, Jodie Walker.
“The program educates participants on how to be safe when in and around water, and on practical skills like identifying dangers, recognising rip currents and understanding safety signs.”
LSV’s Education team typically delivers the OWLE programs to over 16,000 Victorian students every year on excursions to bayside beaches, inland waterways and pools.
In order to educate Victoria’s regional school students on crucial water safety knowledge, groups of LSV education staff visit regions to deliver the OWLE programs in local waterways.
Since term four 2018, the OWLE program has toured six key regions, comprising Wonthaggi and Cape Patterson; Portland, Warrnambool, Ballart and Bendigo; Wodonga, Yarrawonga and Shepparton; Mildura and Echuca; Lakes Entrance, Paynesville and Woodside; and will head back to Wodonga, Yarrawonga and Wangaratta in April.
Education staff also visited regional classrooms across the state during term four last year, facilitating the award winning interactive Sink or Swim program to educate students on water safety from their school.
“We know that there will be over 12,000 school students in regional Victoria and over 37,000 across the state, who are everyday lifesavers, thanks to these programs,” says Jodie.
“These students now have the knowledge and skills to keep themselves and others safe while swimming or recreating at their local waterway.”
OWLE and Sink or Swim programs are delivered thanks to the State Government’s PISBTW campaign and the Royal Life Saving Society Australia’s Respect the River campaign, funded by the Federal Government.