Campbelltown Youth Get Lesson In Beach Safety

As the mercury rises in Sydney’s West spending a day at the beach becomes an attractive option for the many teenagers who call this part of the state home. But with Western Sydney residents identified as at high risk of coastal drowning, beach safety messages to the area's youth are as important as ever.

Forty teenagers aged between 14-17 attended the workshop at Wollongong on Wednesday to hear these key messages on surf safety as well as take part in a practical water safety demonstration.

During the hot summer months, Campbelltown Council offers a free bus service for young people to visit beaches at Wollongong.

Both Wollongong and Campbelltown Local Councils were concerned that the area’s youths were not equipped with the skills and knowledge needed to safely enjoy a day at the beach.

In an attempt to address this problem, the two councils have worked with Surf Life Saving New South Wales to develop an educational workshop to overcome these issues.

The workshop will cover topics such as the role of lifesavers and lifeguards, the different type of surf conditions and how to identify rip currents, and basic CPR and first aid skills.

Surf Life Saving NSW Community Education Officer Stacey Pidgeon believes that education plays a key role in helping prevent coast drownings.

“Western Sydney has been identified as a high risk area for coastal drownings and it is troubling that many of these fatalities are in the 14-24 age bracket. One drowning is one too many.

“By spreading the message of beach safety to the youth of Western Sydney in a fun and innovative manner we hope that it encourages them to safely enjoy their day at the beach,” she said.

“Ultimately we hope that these youth will share these messages with their peers and family and that the beach safety messages become a core part of their lives.”

At the beach, follow these simple safety tips:

• Always swim between the red and yellow flags
• Read the safety signs
• Ask a lifesaver/lifeguard for safety advice
• Learn how to identify a rip
• If you need help, stay calm and attract attention
• Always wear a lifejacket while rock-fishing
• If witnessing an in-water emergency call 000-Police

For full details on which beaches are patrolled and patrol times go to the Beachsafe website or download the app.

Surf Life Saving NSW are offering free practical beach safety workshops to Western Sydney High Schools throughout Term 1 2015.

For further information about the school program, please contact,

Stacey Pidgeon

SLSNSW Community Education Officer

(02) 9471 8082

PHOTOGRAPH: Workshop participants get a practical demonstration at the beach on Wednesday 21 January 2015. Stacey Pidgeon/SLSNSW

Wed 21 Jan 2015