The Australian Migrant Resource Centre (AMRC) and the West Beach Surf Life Saving Club provided a water safety session for young people aged 15 to 25. The project was designed to educate young people from new and emerging communities about basic water safety including swimming between the flags, after their participation in a pre-water safety lesson which covered aspects on appropriate water behaviour and safety regarding sharks. 45 young people of Syrian, Afghan, Burmese, African and Iranian backgrounds attended.
AMRC Youth Officer, Ibrahim Nowrozi, explained the significance behind the project. “We wanted to empower our young people by enhancing their confidence about being in the water and teaching them about essential swimming skills,” he said.
Diversity Officer from West Beach Surf Life Saving Club, Peter Taylor, added that water safety education is “extremely valuable for new arrivals and refugees,” given their high drowning occurrences on Australian beaches. “The knowledge and experience they are able to obtain about beach safety is paramount,” he said.
AMRC Youth Coordinator, Keith Preston, explained that the water safety experience also supported participants to further develop their orientation skills. “They were provided with information on how to access suburban beaches using public transport,” he said.
Young people responded positively to the session, with many expressing that: “This should be happening more often” and that “they would like to volunteer as a West Beach Life Guard.”