Open water safety taught

By Yarrawonga Chronicle

Due to numerous recent drownings in the region, Life Saving Victoria’s (LSV) education team visited the Yarrawonga Foreshore last Thursday to deliver Open Water Learning Experience (OWLE) programs.

During the OWLE program, students from Mulwala Public School became ‘Everyday Lifesavers’ after learning practical and engaging water safety, lifesaving and emergency response skills, which is designed to empower students to make safe aquatic related decisions while enjoying their local waterway.

The program activities included:

  1. Be Aware and Be Prepared
  2. Everyday Lifesavers
  3. Survival Strategies (lifejackets)*
  4. Rescue Strategies*
  5. Safe Body Boarding*

*water based activities consisting of dry land demonstrations, dry practice followed by shallow water practical (adapted for participant ability level).

The program, which also visited Noreuil Park in Albury and Aquamoves Pool in Shepparton earlier in the week, became one of prevalence to the area after a 37-year-old man drowned in the Murray River at Yarrawonga on Australia Day and a 21-year-old man went missing in the water of the Murray River at Noreuil Park.

“OWLE programs are delivered to students within regions deemed ‘at risk’ for drowning deaths and injury,” said LSV Community Education Projects Coordinator Jodie Walker. 

“The program is a great opportunity for students to become familiar with their local open water environment in a fun and interactive way.

“The program educates participants on how to be safe when in and around water and on practical skills like identifying dangers, recognising rip currents and understanding safety signs.”  

The visits to Yarrawonga, Albury and Shepparton are one part of a seven-week tour schedule during term four 2018 and term one 2019, educating over 4000 students across the state. 

The OWLE program will also visit Wodonga and Wangaratta during April, due to immense interest in the program. 

OWLE programs are delivered thanks to the State Government’s PISBTW campaign and the Royal Life Saving Society Australia’s Respect the River campaign, funded by the Federal Government. 

A number of students are also able to participate in this OWLE program thanks to the generous support of the Wodonga City Council Community Grant.