Water safety a top priority


Confident in the water: Allan Divania (9), John Laki (9) and Ryan Amuro Yung (7).
Picture: Andrew Ritchie           d448534
Confident in the water: Allan Divania (9), John Laki (9) and Ryan Amuro Yung (7). Picture: Andrew Ritchie         d448534

The Swim and Survive Access and Equity program was launched last week across WA, including at Leisurepark Balga and Bayswater Waves, providing children from culturally and linguistically diverse (CaLD) families access to a five-day intensive swimming course.

The launch comes more than a year after the drowning death of Zambian-born Cathy Chikwanda at Trigg Point on Boxing Day 2014.

From 2003 to 2013, about 40 per cent of WA drowning deaths involved people born overseas, half of whom were from a non-English speaking background.

Royal Life Saving chief executive Peter Leaversuch said water was a key part of the WA lifestyle and aimed to teach 1500 children through the access and equity program in 2016.

“Many people from CaLD communities have never had the opportunity to participate in swimming and water safety programs that many West Australians take for granted, which place them at a greater risk of drowning,” Mr Leaversuch said.

He said they worked with Vietnamese, Chinese, Indian and African communities to develop the program.

Multicultural Interests Minister Mike Nahan, said many new migrants did not have the same water culture as Australians and found themselves in increased danger from ocean rips, waves and tides for example.

Balga residents Tu and Ka Wai Yung’s children, Ryan Amuro (7) and Tia Angel (6), completed the five-day program last week.

Ms Yung said her children were born in Australia but the couple, from Vietnam and Hong Kong, were concerned by their own lack of water knowledge.

Ms Yung said the young family were ready to consider swimming in the ocean.