2020 kicks off with new Bush Nippers program

Trials of LSV’s new Bush Nippers program have been successfully delivered at two regional inland locations this month.

The ‘Bush Nippers’ program builds on the successful beach Nippers lifesaving and water safety education program, that each summer sees more than 10,000 Victorian children aged 5-14 learn lifesaving skills, by adapting the program to be delivered at regional and inland waterways and pools.

A pilot program was developed and delivered at Echuca from 6-10 January and Shepparton from 20-24 January, in partnership with local aquatic centres in Campaspe Shire and the City of Greater Shepparton, attracting  85-90 participants to each program.  The program will also be delivered in partnership with Ballarat Aquatic facility and local schools during Term 1, 2020.

A fourth program that was planned to take place in Wodonga, in partnership with the City of Wodonga from 13-17 January was unfortunately cancelled due to fire safety precautions in mid-January.  LSV will continue to review the opportunity to visit the region in the coming months.

Funded through the Victorian Government’s Public Water Safety Initiative, the program progressively taught children basic water safety and lifesaving skills required to participate safely in and around water, while encouraging teamwork and developing their skills to become future community lifesavers.

Children participated in both land-based and water based-activities, including learning skills in rescues, board paddling, first aid and understanding aquatic environments among others.

LSV’s Manager for Strategic Projects Trudy Micallef said the successful trial programs have had enormous uptake from the community, planting good foundations for continuing the program and an expansion in the future.

“Bush Nippers was developed in response to the increased drowning toll in inland waterways –  there was a 49 per cent increase in drowning deaths in inland waterways in Victoria last year, compared to the 10-year average – with the delivery locations selected based on their high relative drowning risk.”

Following findings from a LSV feasibility study looking at the potential to expand the Nippers program across the state, the Bush Nippers program was developed to include content relevant to water safety at inland waterways and public swimming pools, covering issues such as river currents, snags, submerged objects, specific rescue techniques, pool safety and signage.

“The review of the Nippers program found it effectively fosters the development of lifesaving skills, swimming and water safety education and has a myriad of positive impacts for participants, their families and communities,” Ms Micallef said.

A full evaluation is being conducted by LSV Risk & Research team and will include recommendations for the further rollout of Bush Nippers across the state.

Visit lsv.com.au/bush-nippers for further information.

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