Surf Safety Vital for New Migrants

Surf lifesavers treated new arrivals to Australia with a hands-on beach safety experience at Sydney’s Tamarama Surf Life Saving Club on Thursday.

Students from City East Community College took a keen interest in learning about their local coastal environment, identifying rips, swimming between the flags and safety on rock platforms.

The club’s inaugural Beach Safety Day, delivered in partnership with the City East Community College in Bondi Junction and Surf Life Saving NSW, included 67 new migrants from countries including China, Russia, Iraq, Vietnam, Thailand, Japan, Hungary and India.

On hand to deliver this important information were local surf lifesavers along with Department of Primary Industries and recreational fishing representatives who gave the students some practical advice on how to stay safe at the beach or on rock platforms. Support was also provided by the Illawarra Blackspot program staff.

The initiative is one of many delivered by Surf Life Saving which aims to reduce the number of drownings and educate the community about how to stay safe on the coast.

Surf Life Saving NSW Community Education Project Officer Joanne Massey says acquiring basic surf safety skills is vital for people who have recently arrived in Australia.

“The program we have in place with the City East Community College allows new migrants to come down to coastal locations and learn about water and beach safety. They can see first-hand some of the dangers on our beaches by going through the program with volunteer lifesavers,” Ms Massey said.

“As the participants’ English skills are usually weak, we focus on teaching them five key safety messages and if they have fun while doing it then it’s a bonus.”

City East Community College Teacher Edwina Hart says the day delivered some very positive outcomes and they look forward to holding similar familiarisation days in the future.

“We’re so grateful for Surf Life Saving to have hosted this program because it’s paramount for our students who are all newly arrived migrants and refugees. Many of them come from landlocked countries so to have the practical experience where they’re learning about beach safety is really important.”

“We teach them a small amount of beach safety within our settlement program but to get this first-hand experience at one of their local beaches and from surf lifesavers is amazing.”

Similar days are earmarked to run for additional groups later in the year to ensure that everyone in the community can fully enjoy Sydney’s beach lifestyle, irrespective of their background.

Photo: Surf lifesavers teaching migrants surf safety outside Tamarama SLSC.

Fri 12 May 2017