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As the 2017 cohort of international students continued to get accustomed to their new surroundings in Australia, Surf Life Savers took the message of beach safety directly to them in an effort to ensure their safety in the coastal environment.

Before the rigours of the academic year begin afresh new students had the opportunity to engage with the traditional orientation or “O Week”, during which the international students had the chance to meet surf lifesavers and ask any questions they had about the beach.

The recent drowning of two Nepalese nationals at Maroubra in February along with a number of other incidents over the summer period reinforced the importance of education especially to those who might not be as familiar with the challenges of swimming at an Australian beach.

Surf Life Saving NSW Academy Education Project Officer Joanne Massey said the presentations play an important role in spreading surf safety messages to a wider audience.

“We are incredibly proud to be part of this initiative; anything we can do to ensure the message of safety at the beach gets out to the community is something that we support,” Ms Massey said.

“On the NSW coast it is not uncommon for children to be introduced to the beach and ocean very early in life. They learn about rip currents, what surf lifesavers do, and the importance of swimming between the flags from a very young age as well as having the opportunity to participate in the well-established and respected Nippers program.

“Through education initiatives such as Beach to Bush and the NSW Government supported Blackspot Programs even those who live away from the coast have the opportunity to learn these vital safety tips. It’s important to understand that many international students do not have this knowledge and Surf Life Saving NSW is proud to be able to work with these communities.

“We provide them with the best information possible to ensure that if they get into difficulty while taking a well-earned break from their studies they know what to do. They can then make safe surf practices and decisions as part of their beach routine,” she said.

Community educators delivered 8 presentations to over 1400 students at locations including the University of Sydney, University of Wollongong, Liverpool TAFE NSW - South Western Institute, Meadowbank TAFE – Northern Sydney.

Beach Safety Tips

• Always swim between the red and yellow patrol flags, for your nearest patrolled beach check the BeachSafe app or website

• Read the safety signs for information about the beach and ask a lifesaver or lifeguard for safety information

• Always swim with someone else so you can look out for each other, and always supervise children around the water

• Never swim under the influence of alcohol or drugs

• If you need help in the water, stay calm and attract attention by raising one arm

• In an emergency, dial Triple Zero Police

• Don’t forget to be sun safe by remembering to: Slip on some protective clothing, Slop on some sunscreen, Slap on a hat, Slide on a pair of sunglasses, Seek some shade and Sip on lots of water to stay hydrated

• For information about patrol times, weather, and beach locations visit the Beachsafe Website or Download the App.


Monday 27 February 2017