An aquatic safety program offering sea-swimming and pool skills, parent workshops and a family beach day are features of a South Australian Government funded settlement program delivered to the Ukraine refugee community.

Surf Life Saving South Australia received a $10,000 state government grant to run the program, in conjunction with the Association of Ukrainians in South Australia and Help Ukrainian Australia.

The all-ages Welcome to SA Shores program aims to help refugees from Ukraine to settle, develop community contacts and develop crucial water safety skills.

South Australia has been home to around 300 Ukrainian refugees since the outbreak of war earlier this year. They will now be able to keep themselves and others safe in aquatic environments in their new home, thanks to a six-week education and safety program. The program wraps up today with a Ukraine community family beach day at Glenelg.

Program features include:

  • Pool survival swimming and aquatic safety for primary students covering - water familiarisation, essential swimming skills, rescues, personal floatation devices, beach hazards, rips, tides, sandbars, aquatic life, sun safety
  • Surf Life Saving - clubs, patrols, signals
  • Parent workshops – one-hour workshops covering – accessing local spool and beaches, joining a community surf club, beach hazards
  • Family beach excursion - visit to the beach to learn about swimming between the flags, how to identify a rip and dangerous marine creatures, basic water safety skills.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Recreation, Sport and Racing Katrine Hildyard

I am so proud that our community wraps its arms around those needing support, opening their hearts and offering love, kindness and inclusion.

And, I am so proud of our incredible surf lifesavers who are generously giving knowledge and teaching vital water safety skills. I thank them and all involved in this crucial program.

Being enabled to safely enjoy our magnificent beach and being welcomed to do so will give Ukrainians an opportunity to actively participate in our community and know that they belong.

This program will welcome people, strengthen understanding and connection and potentially save lives.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Human Services Nat Cook

I’m proud to be part of a community that opens its hearts, arms and homes to people that need them.

The Department for Human Services offers a range of supports and the State Government is offering newly arrived Ukrainians access to housing and financial assistance, links to settlement support services and community services.

The program focuses on water safety whilst bringing families together in local facilities to build resilience, social cohesion and a connection to community.

Participants will gain aquatic skills, water safety knowledge and rescue and emergency care education which are lifelong skills; skills they can pass onto their family and friends and skills that can one day save their own life or that of another.  

Quotes attributable to Minister for Emergency Services Joe Szakacs

The Welcome to SA Shores program will teach recent Ukrainian arrivals to South Australia key skills involving water safety that they would have never had to learn before.

We want everyone who visits the State’s beautiful beaches to be always safe in and around the water.

Not only does the program teach core skills such as learning to swim and education about hazardous rips and tides, but it will give families a sense of community belonging and acceptance to our beautiful State.

This is particularly special to me. My father was a Hungarian refugee, a great swimmer and someone who instilled important water safety values in me from an early age.