Kerryn Boogaard Kerryn Boogaard
Beverly Goldsmith Beverly Goldsmith
Zoe Bingley-Pullin Zoe Bingley-Pullin

Swimming for our lives:

Life Saving Society wants compulsory swimming lessons at primary school.
Date: October 24 2012
Editor Rating:

A significant rise in the number of young people drowning in Australia has led to a call for compulsory swimming lessons at primary schools.

The Royal Life Saving Society (RLSS) says 371 people aged between 15 and 24 drowned between 2002 and 2012. The number of drownings in 2011-12 was 25 per cent more than the previous year, with the vast majority of the drowing deaths being males who drowned while swimming, boating or fishing with friends.

The RLSS is concerned that many children leave priimary school without being able to swim 50 metres or float for two minutes.

RLSS CEO Rob Bradley says many children are no longer taught basic swimming skills, and 20 per cent of youngsters leaving primary school in coming months will be unable to stay afloat for two minutes.

He has launched a petition calling on governments to support and help fund compulsory swimming lessons at primary schools.

The RLSS believes the number of young people drowning could double in the next decade unless action is taken.

"Royal Life Saving believes that the rapid increase in drowning in young adults .. is undeniably linked to a fall in the swimming and water safety skills of children in Australia over the past 10 years," Mr Bradley said.

The RLSS believes many families simply can't afford swimming lessons and having them as part of the curriculum would be one way to ensure all children receive training.

Some schools do offer swimming training, Mr Bradley said, but it was often only a few lessons every year.

Further information:

Sign the petition at

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