Kids learn water safety

WESTERN Sydney residents have a higher risk of coastal drownings than other parts of NSW, according to 2004 to 2010 statistics in Surf Life Saving Australia's Coastal Safety Report.

Residents from western Sydney — including Fairfield and Liverpool — make up more than a fifth of Australia's drowning victims.

This is double the number of coastal drownings than in other parts of NSW.

Surf Life Saving NSW, however, is trying to lower the statistics by educating youth in surf safety through a NSW government Water Safety Black Spot funded program called Surf School.

Year 9 students attended Surf School at Fairvale High School on Thursday to hear a talk on topics including general beach safety, rip identification, sun smart strategies, the role of the lifeguard and activities with risks, including rock fishing, boating and cliff jumping.

Students also learnt how to use the beachsafe application from

Surf Life Saving NSW Academy trainer Craig Carney presented the program.

"The idea is to use early intervention," he said. "Demographics show that males between the ages of 18 and 34 are at higher risk of drowning, boating incidents and tomb stoning.

"Obviously, casualties are being affected by spinal injuries through tomb stoning and this effects the whole family.

"Early intervention gives them education of the risks involved in the dangers of coastal environments."

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