Carnival fun delivers a serious message

Sam JonesNorth West Telegraph
Boat races were also part of the program
Camera IconBoat races were also part of the program

Children from remote communities around the Pilbara dived head-first into water safety education, with the help of Royal Lifesaving WA, at the Pilbara Spirit Swimming and Lifesaving Carnival last week.

The South Hedland Aquatic Centre played host to the event, with pool lifesaving development and cultural awareness sessions followed by a community barbecue.

More then 160 children from 11 different schools took part in the two day festival on Wednesday and Thursday, showcasing the skills they learnt throughout the year via Swim and Survive and Swim for Fruit programs, which are supported by BHP, Healthway and the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries.

Royal Lifesaving WA Pilbara development officer Jacqui Forbes said the event was more than just the average school swimming carnival.

“The children had the opportunity to take part in the usual swimming races, but also in traditional boat races and lifesaving activities, along with having the opportunity to try water polo and synchronised swimming,” she said.

Aboriginal children are 8.6 times more likely to be involved in a fatal drowning incident than non-Aboriginal children in our State, contributing to more than a third of all drowning cases, according to Royal Life Saving WA.

Royal Life Saving Society WA senior manager of swimming and water safety education Trent Hotchkin said the hope is the children involved will make a real difference in the future of their communities.

“By enabling these children to take part in our Swim and Survive swimming and water safety program we hope to see them lead a generation change, learning skills to become the future lifesavers in remote and regional WA,” he said.

“We want to give these children the opportunity to not only learn skills to keep themselves safe while in the water, but to also equip them to encourage all community members to develop lifesaving and swimming skills.”

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