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APOLA President Bruce Hopkins promotes ‘Float to Survive’ message with Blacktown City Council

APOLA President Bruce Hopkins promotes ‘Float to Survive’ message with Blacktown City Council
December 12, 2023

Bruce ‘Hoppo’ Hopkins, President of the Australian Professional and Ocean Lifeguards Association (APOLA) and Bondi Rescue identity, has partnered with Blacktown City Council to promote the message of ‘Float to Survive’ to the Blacktown community this summer.

The initiative raises awareness for floating as a safety action for those who find themselves in distress in any aquatic environment from beaches and swimming pools to lakes and creeks.

‘Float to survive’ commenced following a Multicultural Water Safety Forum held in 2019, where communities agreed that existing water safety messages were quite complex for culturally and linguistically diverse communities to comprehend and that messages were not relevant to all aquatic environments.

The face and driving force of ‘Float to Survive’, Hopkins has over 30 years’ experience performing lifesaving rescues at Bondi. He advocates that “floating conserves energy and gives a greater chance of survival in any aquatic environment.”

Praising the ‘Float to Survive’ initiative, Mayor of Blacktown City, Tony Bleasdale stared “Blacktown is a proud culturally and linguistically diverse city, with over 180 languages spoken. For us, the importance of a simple, yet clear water safety message for all aquatic environments for our community is huge.

“1 in 4 drownings in Australia involve people born overseas. Many of these people come from the culturally and linguistically diverse communities of western Sydney and will visit many aquatic environments this summer.”

Hopkins, who is also Waverley Council's Chief Lifeguard, drew inspiration from the academic work of Professor Mike Tipton and trialled the messaging near Sydney’s eastern suburbs beaches – in the areas of Randwick City Council and Waverley Council in the summer of 2022/23.

Research conducted after the campaign revealed that over 90% of respondents thought the message was easy to understand and 86.3% thought the message should be promoted more widely throughout Australia.

Blacktown City Council now joins Randwick City Council and Waverley Council in promoting the water safety message.

Mayor of Waverley, Paula Masselos said ‘Float to Survive’ has the potential to reach tens of millions of households across Australia, including those with backyard pools, or who live near rivers or lakes.

Mayor Masselos noted "as custodians of one of the world's most famous beaches, we feel it is our responsibility to have a strong educational presence when it comes to keeping people safe in and around the water, including the millions of people who visit Bondi Beach each year from overseas and across Greater Sydney.

"We applaud Blacktown City Council for joining Waverley and Randwick City councils on our mission to reduce the number of drownings in Australia by promoting the ‘Float to Survive’ message among its diverse communities.

The Mayor of Randwick, Philip Veitch added “the more we promote ‘Float to Survive’ in us communities, the more equipped people will be, if they get into trouble when in the water.” Blacktown City Council joins Randwick City Council and Waverley Council in promoting the water safety message. ‘Float to survive’ will be promoted throughout all Blacktown’s aquatic and leisure facilities this summer.

“Our hope is that this simple, clear message will be top of mind for anyone who finds themselves at the beach, river or any body of water this summer. Education and engagement with our culturally and linguistically diverse communities is paramount and it’s exciting to have Blacktown Council join the campaign to ensure everyone has a safe summer.”

Image (from left): Blacktown City Mayor Tony Bleasdale, Bruce ‘Hoppo’ Hopkins and Waverley Mayor Paula Masselos promoting the Float to Survive message. Credit: City of Blacktown.

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3rd August 2023 - Blacktown City Council raises water safety awareness on World Drowning Prevention Day

21st April 2023 - APOLA’s 26th National Conference heads to the Gold Coast

17th March 2023 - Shellharbour City Council lifeguards recognised by APOLA

23rd January 2023 - Float to Survive message demonstrated in ocean rip at Sydney’s Manly Beach

19th January 2023 - Blacktown City Council’s Swim Sense programs looks to tackle adult drowning toll

2nd December 2022 - Randwick City and Waverley councils launch Float to Survive initiative to reduce national drownings 

23rd September 2022 - Float to Survive safety message to be trialled by Waverley and Randwick Councils

9th September 2022 - APOLA President Bruce Hopkins gains support for adoption of Float to Survive initiative as a national anti-drowning prevention message

2nd September 2022 - City of Canterbury Bankstown to host lessons on Float to Survive techniques

24th May 2022 - Conference sees APOLA ride a wave of change

21st February 2022 - URBNSURF Melbourne to host APOLA’s 25th National Conference

7th May 2021 - Bruce Hopkins and Craig Riddington launch ‘Float to Survive’ water safety initiative

22nd May 2019 - Federal Government won’t deliver on APOLA funding plea to reduce drownings

6th January 2017 - Bondi Rescue educates the world about beach safety


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