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World Drowning Prevention Day

July 25th marks the second World Drowning Prevention Day. In 2021, on the back of alarmingly high drowning numbers, the United Nations created a global advocacy event to highlight the tragic and profound impact of drowning on families and communities and offer life-saving solutions to prevent it.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), drowning is one of the leading causes of death globally for children and young people aged 1-24 years. Every year, an estimated 236,000 people drown.

There were 294 drowning deaths in the past 12 months across Australia’s coastline, inland waterways and pools, which is 20% higher than last year (245). Concerningly, there were 66 drownings at the beach, a 50% increase from last year.

In 2021, NSW recorded the highest number of drownings (99) compared to the other states of Australia. Situated in NSW, UNSW Fitness & Aquatic Centre is playing their part in water safety and the prevention of drownings.

UNSW FAC developed a water and beach safety program designed specifically for people who were lacking basic water skills or lacked confidence around water called the Learn to Swim program.

Each year in Australia, an average of 23 children under five die from unintentional drowning, with a lack of skills around water being a major factor. Teaching children to swim at a young age is crucial in preventing drownings; plus it’s also good for fun and fitness, and sets kids up for a lifetime of water enjoyment.

Consistency with swimming lessons is key to providing your child(ren) with the best opportunity to learn the necessary skills to stay safe in the water. Our Learn to Swim classes range from babies & toddlers (6-36mths), pre-school (under 5) and school age (5+); allowing kids to progress through the different levels to help develop their skills in the water in a safe and structured format.

In Australia, almost half (47%) of beach drowning deaths in Australia from 2004 to 2021 were people born overseas, with individuals born in India accounting for the highest proportion of migrants who drowned in Australia between 2009 and 2019.

The International Learn to Swim program is another initiate held at UNSW FAC, consisting of eight 1-hour sessions with a qualified instructor in a safe and friendly environment. These classes not only teach individuals how to swim confidently in a pool, but they also focus on educating the importance of beach safety.

Learning to swim is an integral life skill, particularly if living in Australia. It’s a skill that is never too late to learn, and one day might just save your life or that of a loved one.

Majority of the drownings in Australia are due to a lack of experience and skill in the water. So, initiatives like our Learn to Swim programs play a major role in preventing potential drownings that could have been prevented.

This year, WHO invites us to “do one thing” to save lives on World Drowning Prevention Day. Make it your one thing to enroll yourself, your child or pass on the message to a close one to join our Learn to Swim program and help lower the number of drownings.

International Learn to Swim