More than 12,000 South Australian kids will have access to learn vital water safety skills this summer through the iconic VACSWIM program, with a record number of programs running across beaches, lakes and pool sites all over SA from right from the WA to VIC borders.
VACSWIM SA is South Australia's most renowned and only government subsidised summer water safety holiday program giving kids (aged 3-12) confidence in and around the water!
Drowning is one of the leading causes of death for children up to the age of 14 and as a national swimming and water safety benchmark, every Australian child at the age of 6 should be able to float and recover to a standing or secure position. It’s so much more than just swimming lessons, with participants learning emergency procedures and rescue skills.
The programs are offered as 5-day blocks across more than 100 locations, and for the first time, the sessions will be offered earlier in December, as well as January school holidays, giving families more opportunities to participate in this life saving program as they holiday at home. Children now also have the opportunity to participate in more than one lesson block, with the ability to undertake BOTH a pool and beach program.
Minister for Recreation, Sport and Racing, Corey Wingard, said the Marshall Government is proud to fund the water safety and survival initiative and provide more than 800 instructor jobs in the aquatics industry through the program.
“The VACSWIM program has been running as a unique summer holidays experience in South Australia for more than 60 years, teaching thousands of young people how to be safe in and around the water,” Minister Wingard said.
“Not only do children learn essential life-long skills but the program also provides a fantastic opportunity to be active, which aligns with our Game On initiative to get more South Australians moving and active.”
Surf Life Saving SA CEO Damien Marangon said the organisation is working tirelessly to enable more children to learn water safety skills as the coastal safety authority continues to extend their lifesaving services beyond the coast.
“We understand the importance of delivering the iconic VACSWIM program to the entire state of South Australia after leading the beach locations for over a decade. We are extremely excited to solely administer and manage the program across pools, beaches and lakes for the next 3 years,” Mr Marangon said.
Surf Life Saving SA's recently released Coastal Safety Report, revealed that sadly the total number of coastal drowning deaths in SA last year doubled to eight and there were five other drownings inland from the coast, highlighting the importance of the next generation learning water safety.
“Our vision statement is that there are zero preventable deaths in South Australian waters and educating the next generation through the VACSWIM program is a major step to ensuring we work towards achieving this,” Mr Marangon said.
With 80% of VACSWIM sites located outside of the metropolitan area, this program is truly a state-wide initiative and gives families a school holiday activity as they holiday at home on a traditional beachside escape or relaxing closer to home.
Nipper Dad and Sporting Identity Mark Bickley is encouraging parents to get in quick with his family heavily involved with water safety initiatives.
“We have loved our family being involved on the beach with the kids learning lifesaving skills they can use to help save their mates. The VACSWIM program at beaches and pools has such a great supportive culture among families,” Mark said.
VACSWIM enrolments are open, with parents able to search locations and book in at: www.vacswimsa.com.au