Introduction Drowning cases amongst individuals is one of the growing concerns for Australian society. Due to the continuously drowning deaths in Australia the need for strategies and activities to come into place need to be implemented. There are many different types of drowning cases in Australia which effect many families and communities. With the rise of children within communities not being able to swim increases a massive lumber on the nation and swim schools need to take advantage.
A main fitness industry which needs to prevent this growing concern is swim schools and national water safety bodies. With the huge increase in the incidence of children not being able to swim, by 2020 it is estimated that 1 in 4 kids within primary schools will not be able to swim 50m confidently (Rich 2010). Learn to swim schools and water safety bodies such as; surf lifesaving Australia (SLSA) have discussed activities that can cater to decrease the level of drowning for all age groups and make recommendations to help assist individuals become aware of the dangers of not being able to swim.
It is forecasted that the ideas and recommendation will become more prevalent and they will be able to incorporate these ideas across all communities and decrease the amount of drowning cases which occur annually. Swimming is an iconic Australian sport that has dated back to the 1900’s when the introduction to the world of the “Australian crawl” was born. Our iconic beaches that bring tourists to this country, to our lakes and dams that give us our leisure to enjoy our spare time. With over 90% of Australians living on the coast (Marco Castro 2009), being able to swim has become an essential part of life.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) states that almost ‘one in five children between 5 and 14 years old participate in swimming whether it be at school or in the local community’. Therefore it has become in the Australian kid’s lifestyle that it is vital that kids learn how to swim. If individuals cannot swim, going into the water it is likely that they will become incompetent to stay afloat and can ultimately drown. Drowning is defined ‘to kill by submerging and suffocating in water or another liquid’ (Houghton Mifflin Company 2009).
This has been an issue for decades but it is not until recent years that the Australian government has placed a strong emphasis on campaigns to tackle this important issue. Drowning is a situation that can happen anywhere – in swimming pools, the beach or even in a spa. Unfortunately most of these incidents can be prevented. The national drowning report of 2011 set up by the Australian Royal lifesaving society states that ‘there were 315 drowning deaths in Australia waterways between 1 July 2010 and 30 June 2011’.
The incidence of drowning in Australia has increased greatly over the past three years reminding us that it is a big problem in our society. Fitness industries need to implement strategies and activities to decrease the level of drowning cases and also can establish physical activity programs that will benefit all individuals. WHY THE NEED FOR SWIM SCHOOLS AND WATER SAFETY PROGRAMS? Throughout all swim schools within Australia the main priority is to teach individuals how to swim and improve their level of physical fitness at the same time.
The need for swim schools to implement water safety programs is a recommendation that the Australian government have put forward. The Australian Government aim to decrease the level of drowning deaths in children by 50% in the next 10 years (reference). Swim schools across many communities aim to adopt this initiative but also have the pressures to succeed as a business. Their aim is to support the Australian Government’s strategy of drowning prevention and believe to do this they have to develop a good relationship with their customers to establish an on-going fitness activity.
Decreasing the level of drowning cases starts by teaching children how to swim, and making them feel confident in the water. If swim schools can adopt this activity within their industry the feedback will demonstrate a successful program. Children are the backbone to educating the need for water safety and the importance of physical activity for individuals for their health can be catered for by swimming. By instructing them on this issue, children can learn the skills through education and learning of awareness of the dangers in the water from coaches and teachers within the swim school industry.
By doing this, customers will see the results and will be more aware of the importance of swimming and how it can assist a child’s life. The development of this activity and the success relayed through word of mouth will boost the strategy of water safety for children in their programs and will be able to expand their market for other swim schools to adopt similar or the same activity. The Queensland government have made a stand now and linked a relationship with water safety in fitness industries as drowning has now hit prime time news.
Channel 9 news reported on 08/04/2012 of the recent deaths from drowning are by far the most recorded in the past ten years. “13 deaths in 4 days over the long weekend is, more than on our roads” (Greggs 2012). By swim schools reacting to the news report establishing a program can benefit family members and friends and decrease the lifestyle issue of drowning. By swim schools offering group and squad swim programs it can promote physical activity and establish education to water safety to various ages. For example swim schools can run a class at 3. 0 pm for children between 4- 6 which teaches them the basic skills of survival in the water and aware of the dangers, and a classes at 4. 30pm for an hour which is a group/squad session maximum of 12 children between 7 – 14, which develops their fitness and water safety skills which can be implemented anywhere near water. Swim schools can adopt this basic teaching skill of: teaching the children to use a bucket as a flotation device and teachers demonstrating to them to kick to the wall on their backs.
By teaching this skill it will make children aware of what can be useful in the case of danger, and also develops a fun aspect of using a household item which you wouldn’t think to use at a swim school, which can improve their level of fitness by kicking to the wall at the same time. Where are swim schools and how do they benefit industry activity? There are swim schools located all across Australia, and the development of more water safety program is a fast growing phenomenon. Teaching swimming as a sport is a big business and very marketable to the public, if it is done right.
Taren Point swim school in Caringbah is a registered swim school under the Aust. Swim act. This swim school is a small business and have 21 available teachers and coaches to expand their knowledge on water safety. Throughout their program they cater for 6 month olds all the way up to their oldest registered swimmers of their Adult squad which aims at fitness levels. By offering the services needed to tackle the Australian government’s issue of drowning, it is recommended as one of the best swim schools within the Sutherland shire (The Leader 2012).
When conducting an interview with local pool business owner Bruce Abbott of Taren Point Swim school on his view of the activity within the business, on the 28/09/2012 stated that; “we look to expand our age groups in the next 4 years, not only cater for learn to swim and mums and bubs programs, but look to improve skills to children across all ages in safety in the water, and educate them of emergency procedures that may occur near swimming pools.
The next step for our business is to educate our customers, the parents with handouts that my management will pass on for tips that make them aware also” With Taren Point as one swim school who have acknowledged the concern of drowning fatalities they aim to keep moving forward in educational programs which benefit water safety and promote physical fitness. Providing this, gives a benchmark to other swim school industries to rise to and develop the same or if not better ideas to promote this awareness. Further Fitness for children associated with water safety.
Swim schools are not only the place for children to be aware of the dangers of water or the place for them to get their exercise. More traditionally known places for physical fitness in children includes local sporting teams where they might train once a week and play a match on the weekend or gaining their physical fitness in schools and recess and lunch times. The Australian government has supported the ever growing initiative of surf awareness programs for children which encourages non active children to be involved and develops the skills needed to feel safe near the water.
Many communities along Australian boarders have linked up with SLSA and surf lifesaving clubs to develop nipper programs which educate children on surf skills and awareness and saving lives of their own and others. These activities are ran on a Sunday morning and have a strong link with swim school industries. One regulation of the nipper programs that each child who participates must swim a distance in a nominated time in order to be proficient and be able to compete. This activity has many benefits for local communities and Australia.
By having these other outlets that provide another form of fitness and water safety awareness is another form of prevention that will save lives. The success of providing this program is linked with state and national governments who help fund nipper programs in allowing to cover a small cost in assisting swim schools link with this activity. This program is not only open to children in the nippers program but opens a lot of advertising through swim schools and local advertisements to promote out to schools and other communities.
This is another revenue raiser for swim schools as kids wanting to improve their level of fitness to compete well on a Sunday and a great way for kids to get involved. Ways of the future. Swim schools are an exclusive part of decreasing drowning fatalities. In the next 5- 10 years I believe there will be a strong emphasis on getting children into swimming programs which will rapidly grow. It is a strong market that has been captured by the Australian Government and fitness industries.
By developing this industry activity such as having safety awareness weeks, can be adopted by many swim schools and the expansion of water safety will grow. With water safety such a hot topic today, with such shows as Bondi Rescue the awareness of promoting these programs are essential to fight the fatality crisis. Conclusion In conclusion, drowning fatalities is a lifestyle risk that is facing communities within Australia. If this issue is left untouched many families will suffer and will have no education into what to do in the case of an emergency.
The expansion of fitness industries such as swim schools needs to adopt and develop an on-going activity that tackles water safety and provides physical fitness at the same time. Swim schools across the country will create a safe, fun and positive atmosphere for kids and families to love and enjoy. With the swim schools not only accommodating for customers who are already within its programs it promotes community activities (nipper programs) by providing another form of physical activity and healthy lifestyle where the industry can still benefit.
By looking out what other facilities are doing right within the same industry, swim schools can adopt a similar activity and reaching the goal of 50% can be achieved. References. * Abbott, B. September,2012, Business of the pool. Interviewed by A. Clarke, Taren Point Swim School. * Australian Sports Commission (2010) active –after school communities. Retrieved October 6, 2012 from Australian Sports Commission: Htttp://www. ausport. gov. u/participation/aasc/about/background * Australian bureau of statistics, 6TH April, 2012, Australian bureau of statistics, Viewed 7th October 2012, http://www. Abs. gov. au * Houghton Mifflin Company, 2009, American Heritage Free Dictionary, viewed 6th October 2012, http://www. thefreedictionary. com/drowning * Lane, C. , 13th December, 2011,The Leader, Taren Point Swim School, viewed 6th October 2012. * Marco Castro, J. 10TH August 2009, cost of living in Australia, viewed 6th October 2012. http://www. expatforum. om/articles/cost-of-living/cost-of-living-in-australia. html * Rich. M,2010, Importance of swimming lessons, viewed 8th October, 2012, http://www. life123. com/sports/water-sports/swimming/the-importance-of-swimming-lessons. shtml * Surf lifesaving Australia, 5th January, 2012, personal cost of being our lifesavers, viewed 3rd of October, 2012, http://www. sls. com. au * Truth Publishing International, LTD, 6th of February ,2009, Infants and Children Save Themselves from Drowning, viewed 4th of October, 2012, http://www. naturalnews. com/swimming. html