Moree Artesian Aquatic Centre (MAAC) is making swim safety a key focus of its activities as its new management team seeks to strengthen its engagement with the local community.
MAAC is actively promoting Royal Life Saving Australia’s Keep Watch program, which provides education and guidance for parents and carers on keeping children safe in, on or around the water. According to Royal Life Saving, drowning is one of the leading causes of death in children 0-4 years of age. Since 2002 more than 500 children under four years old have died from drowning in Australia. Almost all these deaths were due to a lack of active adult supervision.
Over the last two years, closures and restrictions as a result of COVID-19 have resulted in large numbers of Australian children missing out on vital opportunities to participate in swimming lessons, creating a large cohort of young Australians whose skills are worryingly underdeveloped. It is therefore urgent that facilities such as MAAC work with the wider community to make water safety a priority. Belgravia Leisure, which was recently appointed by Moree Plains Shire Council to manage MAAC, has partnered with Royal Life Saving to help ensure children can safely enjoy the benefits of swimming.
Royal Life Saving’s Keep Watch at Public Pools program aims to eliminate drowning deaths and reduce the number of near-drowning incidents at facilities such as MAAC. While public pools always have lifeguards on duty, parents and carers also have a crucial role to play in the supervision of children when swimming. The Keep Watch program calls on them to undertake four simple actions at all times:
- Supervise. Actively supervise children around water.
- Restrict. Restrict children’s access to water.
- Teach. Teach children water safety skills.
- Respond. Learn how to respond in the case of an emergency.
MAAC has for many years served as an important social and community hub for residents in and around Moree. For Amanda Phillips, recently appointed as Venue Manager at MAAC, the promotion of Keep Watch is one way that the Centre is working to assist members of the local community in living more active, healthy lifestyles, while doing so in a safe way.
“Our team is committed to providing the highest level of supervision to ensure the aquatic experience is fun and enjoyable and most importantly a safe one,” says Amanda.
The Keep Watch program is just one of several ways that MAAC is striving to promote the safe enjoyment of swimming. On April 12 the MAAC will host a Swimming and Water Safety Teacher Course that is open to anyone interested in becoming a teacher of aquatic education. More information can be obtained by calling the centre. Following this course the MAAC will offer Learn to Swim Programs for the whole community. Programs will include Splish Splash Aqua Playgroup for babies six months and below and the very popular GOswim programs for both children and adults. Successful candidates will receive full training, and gain access to a range of discounts and benefits including free Venue access.
“We are very excited about the upcoming launch of the MAAC GOswim program,” Amanda adds. “We know that learning to swim is a valuable skill that many young children have missed out on due to the impact of COVID. To register your interest call us today on 02 6757 3450.”