It’s never too late to learn to swim!

When we think of drowning incidents we often think of young children and backyard pools, however the Royal Life National Drowning Report contains some surprising, and alarming, statistics on adult incidents and fatalities in the water.
The 2016 Report shows almost one fifth of deaths (19%) occurred in people aged 25-34 years, with 52 deaths recorded. This was higher than any other age group and a 27% increase against the 10 year average. Alcohol consumption was also a major risk factor for drowning, with 15% of people found to have a positive reading for alcohol in their bloodstream at the time, and of those who had consumed alcohol, 40% recorded a blood alcohol concentration that was four times the legal limit.
Males accounted for 83% of drowning deaths – also the highest percentage in the past 10 years.
Its obvious more education is still needed, and many local adults are now seeking swimming lessons, from teenagers tired of not being able to join in at social occasions on the water, to people in their 80’s wanting to tick off items on their bucket list that involve the water, and everyone in between.
Terry Spinks is Operation Manager at Nepean Aquatic Centre and Eva Bory’s, but still teaches adult private lessons on a weekly basis because of the personal reward it brings to teach an important and potentially lifesaving skill.
Mr Spinks said “Learning to swim opens that person up to a whole range of new possibilities and experiences. I’ve had students come to learn to swim because they want to snorkel on the Great Barrier Reef, or confidently take the kids to a water park. Some are inspired to learn when their children do, and about 90% of my adult students have had a fright in the water that has acted as the catalyst for them to pick up the phone and enquire about lessons – which is sometimes the scariest part of the process!”
In addition to Australian residents, 25 overseas tourists drowned last year, with almost half (44%) of these visitors coming from Asian countries.
Terry added “The majority of the adult swimming lessons are people from immigrant backgrounds, and the common theme is that they simply didn’t grow up with the emphasis we place on learning to swim in Australian society. We have a real United Nations feel, from English and Irish to African and Indian people, Indigenous Australians, the list goes on. It’s never too late to learn, and everyone is welcome!”
Stay safer!