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Warmun children get river ready  

[by Samantha Vigus]

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Image: supplied

12 children from the Warmun Community in WA’s Kimberley region recently enjoyed learning how to stay safe around inland waterways during a ‘River Ready’ workshop.

 

River Ready is a water safety education course that focuses on the challenges and conditions of inland waterways such as rivers, lakes and dams.

 

The program is part of Royal Life Saving’s Respect the River initiative, which aims to equip people with the skills and knowledge to safely enjoy WA’s extensive network of beautiful lakes and rivers.

 

The course was delivered by Warmun Community Pool Manager Steve Waterman, who wanted to run the program for the local kids during the school holidays to help prepare them for Warmun’s wet season.

 

The course took place at local spot Winnepa Springs, which offered a practical, real-world environment for the kids to work on their newly acquired skills.

 

“During the talk, we discussed the types of dangers around the river, safe entries into a river, different types of rescues and the use of PFD's [personal flotation devices],” said Steve.

 

“After discussing the various topics, I had the kids perform safe entries, reach and throw rescues which included the use of pool noodles, branches, rope and PFD's and how to put on a PFD safely and effectively in the water. The HELP [heat-escape-lessening position] huddle was also discussed and demonstrated by the kids.”

 

Royal Life Saving WA data shows that Aboriginal children are 14 times more likely to be involved in a fatal drowning incident than non-Aboriginal children in our state.

 

Overall, half of those under the age of 18 who fatally drowned over the past ten years were Aboriginal.

 

These incidents were most likely to occur at inland waterways such as rivers, while participating in a range of aquatic activities including swimming, fishing and paddling.

 

The Kimberley region has one of the highest inland waterway drowning rates in the state.

 

Programs such as River Ready help to provide vital water safety skills to people in our most at-risk communities, particularly in regional and remote Western Australia.

 

Learn more about the Respect the River at the Royal Life Saving WA website www.royallifesavingwa.com.au.

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