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Over 7000 international students gearing up for their first year of study are set to be given a crash course in beach culture as surf lifesavers take messages of water safety directly to them in an effort to ensure their safety as they enjoy a break from the books on some of NSW’S most magnificent beaches.

Before the rigours of the academic year begin afresh new students have the opportunity to engage with the traditional orientation or “O Week”, during which many international students will have the chance to meet surf lifesavers and ask any questions they have on how to stay safe.

It’s a particularly poignant project given that in recent summers there have been several high profile drownings of international visitors including a tragic double drowning of two young Nepalese students at Maroubra in February last year.

Between now and the end of March, Surf Life Saving NSW will deliver 24 presentations at 18 unique locations in the following academic institutions;

  • University of NSW

  • University of Technology Sydney

  • Sydney University

  • Notre Dame University

  • Western Sydney University

  • University of Wollongong

  • Southern Cross University (Hotel School)

  • Macquarie University

  • ELICOS College

  • TafeNSW

The program follows on from the successful “O Week Workshops” from 2017 and pleasingly has enjoyed rapid growth.  

Surf Life Saving NSW Community Education Manager Joanne Massey said the presentations reinforce the lifesaving community’s commitment to educate the population and ensure that everyone regardless of their cultural background can experience the best the beach has to offer.

“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.

“It’s important to understand that many international students do not have this knowledge and we feel we have a responsibility to help provide them this information that is most likely very different to anything they have previously experienced,” Ms Massey said.

“We give them 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, and share their new knowledge with their peers.

“Our beaches are for everyone,” she concluded.

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.


Thursday 18 January 2018