Australia's rivers are beautiful and popular locations for people to gather with friends and family to enjoy aquatic recreation, but they can also be deadly. 735 people have drowned in Australian rivers, creeks and streams between 1 July 2002 and 30 June 2012. It's vital that all Australians understand the unique dangers that exist in river environments due to their every changing nature, and hidden snags, branches and rocks.
The Swan River is the fourth most dangerous drowning hot spot in the nation, and Royal Life Saving Society WA is determined ensure our community can enjoy it and make use of it safely. We recently partnered with the University of Western Australia to host a Bronze Medallion program on the Swan River.
The program was a first of its kind as part of the university's Recreate program, which offers a variety of courses to both university students and the general public, with the aim of encouraging participants to try something new, learn a new skill or keep themselves fit and healthy. The program ran over seven weeks on Thursday nights between the 7th of March and the 20th April, and was held at UWA’s Watersports Complex.
Participants completed the aquatic components of the Bronze Medallion at various points along the Swan River over the seven weeks, enabling them to see how differences in the vegetation or development along the river can affect the overall river environment. Completing the course over seven weeks instead of the usual two day period also allowed the participants to gain an understanding of just how much our river systems can change within hours, days or weeks.
All participants thoroughly enjoyed the experience and came away with a new swimming, survival and lifesaving skill set. These skills will ensure they can enjoy inland waterways, such as the Swan River, for all that they offer.
We look forward to continuing to work with UWA to offer the Bronze Medallion in the warmer months, and encourage anyone interested in completing their Bronze to stay tuned for spring and summer when we will be running further courses in conjunction with UWA.
This program was conducted as part of Royal Life Saving’s Respect the River campaign, which is funded by the Federal Government. For more information on this campaign, or for tips to stay safe in inland waterways, please follow the link below.
Originally Published at Lifesaving WA: https://lifesavingwa.com.au/news/
UWA Sport Marketing Communications and Events