TAKING ACTION: Queensland Surf Life Saving regional manager Craig Holden believes swimming is vital skill children need to learn at a young age.
TAKING ACTION: Queensland Surf Life Saving regional manager Craig Holden believes swimming is vital skill children need to learn at a young age. Max Fleet BUN231215SURF1

Learning to swim is a 'no brainer', says lifesaver

FOR lifesaver Craig Holden, kids learning the valuable skill of swimming is a "no brainer".

That's why he believes swimming should be incorporated into every child's life even if it means being taught at school.

"From a life saving point of view, we think (swimming) is a vital skill to learn growing up in Queensland," he said.

"It's also about keeping yourself safe or afloat whether it's in a pool or the ocean."

The S.O.S. 'Save Our Schoolkids' campaign run by the Fraser Coast Chronicle and 45 other News Queensland publications was launched this week after a spike in child drownings.

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The campaign has called on the State Government to introduce compulsory, certified swim and water safety lessons in Queensland Primary Schools.

Queensland is the only state in Australia to have no compulsory training with Western Australia, South Australia, Tasmania, ACT, NSW and Victoria already equipped with school swimming programs.

A program would have children learn to swim 50m, tread water for two minutes and recognise potential dangers in the water.

Mr Holden, regional manager for Surf Life Saving Queensland, said the most common reason for rescues were people's inability to swim or float.

"Even if the curriculum isn't about learning to swim, even if they can learn basic survival skills in the water alone would be useful," he said.

"How to tread, how to grab hold of things in the water and how to keep themselves afloat."

Since December 1 2017, about 40 people have lost their lives as a result of drowning at beaches, rivers and pools.

The lives lost are about 26 lower than the 66 fatal drownings reported at the same time last summer.

It was estimated 120 people were hospitalised due to non-fatal drowning with men more likely to be rescued by lifeguards and members of the public.

Mr Holden said if the State Government could make changes to make learning to swim more achievable, many young people would reap the benefits.

"We'd love to see every child in Queensland know how to swim but we realise not every parent has the income to do that and it's not always achievable to get a child to swimming lessons," he said.



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