TWO AQUATIC INDUSTRY HEAVYWEIGHTS have joined forces in the name of water safety with AUSTSWIM to partner with SWIM Australia on the annual SWIMSAFER Week.

Working together on a consumer education campaign for the first time, SWIM Australia CEO, Brendon Ward said the affiliation would extend the reach of SWIMSAFER Week by ensuring hundreds more swim schools and thousands of swim teachers and their local communities learned the importance of learning to swim as a major drowning prevention tactic.

“Joining forces in the name of drowning prevention is a step in the right direction for making the focus purely on the solution,” he said. “The partnership with AUSTSWIM came out of a desire to collaborate and form a united front to better our industry and drive awareness for a major safety issue.”

CEO of AUSTSWIM Bradley Low said the partnership provided an opportunity to promote a strong drowning prevention and water safety message.

“AUSTSWIM’s belief is that everyone has the right to be safer in and around water.  It is important we come together as an industry to promote this important message,” he said. “This coming together of Swim Australia and AUSTSWIM demonstrates how we as an industry can join forces for the common goal of water safety.”

“SWIMSAFER has made a real impact in the community helping encourage more children than ever into learning to swim and we want to contribute further to this effort as well.”

Mr Ward said the SWIMSAFER campaign has been making a real difference, with research for the SWIMSAFER Report revealing the number of children participating in swimming lessons had increased by 15% over the past three years, but there was still more to be done to reduce the drowning statistics.

“We had a tragic summer for drownings in Australia, with 90 drowning deaths between December and February and although that was a 20% decrease on the drowning deaths in the previous summer*, we want that statistic to be zero,” he said. “Swimming and water safety are skills for life and we want to encourage all parents to get their kids into lessons as early as possible. And for adults, we want them to continue to build their own water safety and swimming competency skills.”

AUSTSWIM’s network of 700 swim schools and 31,000 licenced teachers will provide more opportunities to get the water safety message into communities across Australia.

“The sooner you get infants into water safety programs, the sooner they will become more comfortable in and around water,” Mr Low said. “We love how SWIMSAFER supports this message so strongly and we want people to understand how important it is to learn vital swimming and water safety skills”.

SWIMSAFER WEEK is hosted from November 20 – 26 www.swimsafer.org.au