Rear view of three young people on rescue boards on outdoor 50-metre swimming pool
GETTING ON BOARD:  The Outback Lifesaver Program returned to the Oasis Aquatic Centre this week, with 21 participants learning vital water safety and lifesaving skills.


Diving in to water safety training with Outback Lifesavers

Published: 18 Jan 2024 4:28pm

Wagga Wagga’s newest batch of young Outback Lifesavers have graduated from their intensive waterways safety program at the Oasis Aquatic Centre on Friday.

The popular program attracted 21 participants aged from six to 13 years old, for the one-hour sessions covering water safety and lifesaving skills held each morning this week.

Developed in partnership between Wagga Wagga City Council and Royal Life Saving NSW (RLSNSW), the initiative was piloted at Wagga Beach at the start of 2021.

RLSNSW Riverina Regional Manager Mick Dasey was pleased to see the program held for a fourth time, saying “the outcomes are terrific for the kids who are involved”.

“Unfortunately, inland waterways are a major area in the drowning statistics, around 30 per cent of all tragedies, which is about on even par with the surf beaches of Australia,” Mr Dasey said.

“When you're looking at priorities and places, it's just as important here as it is anywhere else to have these opportunities in the community to learn lifesaving skills.

“Anything that can put a positive spin on educational outcomes, we’re 100% behind it, and by the look on the kids’ faces and what they're actually going through and achieving, we think the outcomes are brilliant.”

The program is designed to give participants a well-rounded experience, to acquire relevant skills and knowledge to safely participate in recreational activities in aquatic environments.

Young woman helps push a young female on a rescue board in a pool, with side on view of another young person treading water nearby
HELPING HAND: Learn to Swim Instructor Emma Suckling (right) provides a helping hand to one of the Outback Lifesaver Program participants during the rescue board training session at the Oasis outdoor 50-metre pool.

Oasis Learn to Swim Instructors and community volunteers provided the training which covered basic water survival skills, some rescue techniques, as well as the ever-popular rescue board training.

Manager Oasis Regional Aquatic Centre Marc Geppert said the young participants also had the opportunity on Wednesday to learn CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation).

“Obviously kids who are aged seven, eight or nine, probably don't get the opportunity to learn CPR skills, so learning from the experts of Royal Life Saving around the basics of CPR and resuscitation was awesome,” Mr Geppert said.

Young males and females learn CPR on resuscitation dummies, with trainers looking on
SPECIAL SKILLS: Outback Lifesaver Program participants learn the basics of CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation).

“This program gives them crucial skills that are really relevant for kids in regional areas like Wagga Wagga.

“We have the backyard pools, we've got the dams, we've got the lakes and the rivers, so running it in a controlled environment like the Oasis is really important.

“It gives us the opportunity to do more in a more suited environment with lifeguards, where we don't have currents and rivers to contend with.

“I think it's found its place here at the Oasis and we will continue to run the program here for as long as it's relevant.”

The initiative contributes to a healthier and safer community, providing important skills and awareness for young people in a social learning environment where participants have fun and make new friends.