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Watch Around Water program reaches 100 pools in Victoria
Representatives of Aquatics and Recreation Victoria (ARV) and Life Saving Victoria (LSV) have reported that the Watch Around Water public swimming pool safety program continues to grow in Victoria, with the 'Your Child Your Focus' message gaining increasing recognition.
LSV and ARV representatives suggest that "the industry highly values this structured supervision program, aimed at changing the attitudes and behaviours of parents and carers within public aquatic facilities."
Citing over 60 million annual visits to 300 or public aquatic facilities across Victoria, LSV Research Assistant and Victorian Watch Around Water Co-ordinator Sarah Grace and ARV Industry Services Co-ordinator Belinda Yim recently charted the growth of Watch Aaround Water from 33 facilities in 2009/10, to 86 in 2010/11 and the recent milestone of 100 facilities.
Among facilities joining the program, Victoria's flagship aquatic facility, the Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre (MSAC),is one of the newest.
The largest aquatic facility in the State, the roll-out of Watch Around Water at MSAC this summer shows how adaptable the program can be and how it can be successfully implemented at any facility.
Sarah Grace explains that "the vast differences between aquatic facilities throughout Victoria means that we need to consult with management at each facility on an individual basis to determine how the program can be incorporated into the day-to-day operations of the facility, and what considerations must be made to reflect facility layout and design."
Belinda Yim adds "while most patrons understand the importance of Watch Around Water, behaviour change can be very difficult, so we work with facilities to ensure all facility staff from lifeguards and swim teachers to those working in reception are all providing consistent messages to patrons about the program, ensuring that it is 'Your Child Your Focus'.
"This approach to Watch Around Water also highlights that the success of the program is driven through committed management and staff at all levels, ensuring that effective communication is maintained at all times and through all mediums, and any issues dealt with in a fast and effective manner. "
Both ARV and LSV are working hard to ensure the quality of the program remains high even as the program rapidly expands throughout the Victorian aquatics industry.
With assistance from the Victorian Government's water safety campaign, Play it Safe by the Water, extra support is being provided to existing facilities through re-training staff to ensure the Watch Around Water message remains consistent, and effective communication skills are retained.
Grace concludes "as interest in the program continues we anticipate that the benefits of having a supervision program in place becomes more apparent.
"In our fourth season of Watch Around Water in Victoria, we are getting ready for our next goal, to reach the half way mark with 150 Watch Around Water accredited facilities in the State."
Developed in Western Australia by the State branch of the Royal Life Saving Society Australia (RLSSA-WA) and LIWA Aquatics, Watch Around Water is an important industry driven program that contributes significantly to ensuring the safety and reducing risk at our public swimming pools.
Owned by LIWA Aquatics, the program provides a consistent message in line with best practice to the public about effective supervision of young children at public pools.
Watch Around Water should not be confused with the Keep Watch @ Public Pools program offered by the national branch of the Royal Life Saving Society Australia.
For more information go to www.watcharoundwater.com.au
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