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A team of volunteer surf lifesavers headed west in November to deliver beach safety lessons to thousands of NSW primary school students.

Over 6,000 school children attended one of the more unusual lessons on the school calendar when the 26th annual Beach to Bush program toured rural and regional towns including; Mudgee, Wellington, Deniliquin, Dubbo, Orange, Tamworth, Wagga Wagga and Canberra.

For many children, attending the Beach to Bush presentation is their first interaction with a surf lifesaver. Some have never actually been to the coast or swum in the ocean.

Over the past 26 years, over 250,000 primary school-aged students have benefited from the Beach to Bush program delivered by real surf lifesavers.

The coastal safety program has been carefully designed by educators to ensure the lesson content is age-appropriate. Children attending the program learn about; the role of surf lifesavers, why they should always swim between the flags, how to spot a rip current, what to do if you get into trouble at the beach and the different types of marine life that can be found along the coast.

With 44 schools participating at over 25 locations, the Beach to Bush program in 2019 was a major undertaking for Surf Life Saving NSW.

Julia Kiss, Community Education Manager at SLSNSW, said that the organisation has ambitions to grow the Beach to Bush program.

“Following the success of Beach to Bush over the past 25 years, we will be looking to refresh and reinvigorate this program in 2020 with the aim of bringing coastal education to more students and schools in remote and rural communities,” said Julia Kiss.

Surf Life Saving NSW Beach to Bush coordinator Mike Anderson said it’s a wonderful opportunity for the volunteer lifesavers to share their knowledge and passion for beach safety with children in rural and regional areas.

“Educating all children, regardless of their location, is an important part of our strategy to keep the beach going public safe,” said Mike Anderson.

“Beach to Bush has proven to be an effective educational program over many years and I know it is something that both the school children and our volunteer surf lifesavers look forward to taking part in each year.

“Our volunteer lifesavers consider it a big responsibility. They are often the first contact these children have with a real surf lifesaver,” Mr Anderson concluded.

The Beach to Bush Program is supported by Cancer Institute NSW and Your Local Club. It is the largest and most innovative surf safety education program in Australia, having reached more than 250,000 primary school students since it began in 1994.


Sunday 1 December 2019