After being closed for almost two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Western Australia’s borders fully opened in March 2022 to tourists and other visa holders to the country.
Since then the country is fully open to anyone who wishes to enter Australia and witness the natural beauty and scenic views. This includes visiting some of the world’s most beautiful beaches … however ….
In the last decade alone, 32 international students have drowned on Australian beaches. Additionally, 3 in every 4 drownings that occur in Australian waters are international tourists. These frightening statistics highlight the country’s huge coastal drowning issue.
These drownings have occurred as a result of multiple factors:
– lack of knowledge and education regarding the dangers and strength of the waves at Australian beaches;
– limited to no swimming skills; and
– a lack of beach safety awareness and knowledge.
A proper aquatic education could have helped save these lives and could help save many more.
The “Be Safe” project aims to prevent international students from drowning on Australian beaches through adequate beach safety education. It consists of a 1-day course to helps increase beach safety knowledge and awareness through:
teaching students the importance of swimming between the flags on the beach;
knowing where the lifeguard tower is located, to signal for help or find help if someone is in danger in the water;
how to recognise dangerous rips and waves, and how to swim out of a rip successfully.
The international students are also given an introductory first aid training course and are taught which animals to avoid on the sand and in the water, and what to do if they encounter animals such as stonefish, jellyfish, and snakes. The students are also exposed to the day-to-day life of the lifeguards, are shown around the Mullaloo Surf Life Saving Club, and experience some Australian culture with the classic sausage sizzle and a drink!
Enactus ECU intends to run this project multiple times throughout the course of the summer, and aiming for 2 – 3 times a year!
The next event will take place in September (day to be confirmed) 2022 at Mullaloo Beach.