The new ‘Bush Nippers’ program builds on LSV’s successful Nippers program that each summer sees more than 10,000 children learn lifesaving club skills at 57 Victorian beaches.
Funded through the Victorian Government which forms part of the Public Water Safety Initiative, the new program has had enormous uptake from the community, aiming to host more than 400 participants over the duration of the program.
Bush Nippers progressively teaches children basic water safety and lifesaving skills required to participate safely in and around water, whilst encouraging teamwork and developing their skills to become future community lifesavers.
Children participate in both land-based and water based-activities including learning skills in rescues, first aid and understanding aquatic environments among others.
LSV’s Manager for Strategic Projects Trudy Micallef said ‘Bush Nippers was developed in response to the increased drowning toll in inland waterways.’ Life Saving Victoria’s Drowning Report for 2018-19 showed a 49 per cent increase in drowning deaths in inland waterways in Victoria last year, compared to the 10-year average.
Echuca, Shepparton, Ballarat and surrounds are all set to benefit from having this new pilot project and have been selected based on being locations with the highest relative risk of drowning in the state and in response to the increased drowning toll in inland waterways. The program at Ballarat is still underway with schools participating weekly throughout Term 1, 2020. For more information head to https://lsv.com.au/bush-nippers/
A full evaluation is being conducted by the LSV Risk & Research team throughout the program and will include recommendations for the further rollout of Bush Nippers across the state.