Supervision of young children at public pools has been a concern for the aquatics industry for many years. There is often the misconception by parents and carers that the responsibility for supervision of young children lies solely with lifeguards. Lifeguards are employed on a 1:100 ratio based on the expectation that parents will provide direct supervision of children.
WA Coroner Alistair Hope in response to a drowning in a public aquatic facility: "Competent lifeguards acting responsibly should provide an important safety feature, but they are not intended to, and cannot be expected to, replace the close supervision of parents and teachers which is required for many children, particularly primary school age children."
Watch Around Water is an important industry driven program that contributes significantly to ensuring the safety and reducing risk at our public swimming pools. It provides a consistent message in line with best practice to the public about effective supervision of young children at public pools, and demonstrates that the aquatics industry is organised and takes their responsibility for patron safety seriously.
Watch Around Water has been running in Victoria through a partnership between Life Saving Victoria and Aquatics and Recreation Victoria since 2008/09, and now has over 100 year-round and seasonal facilities on board. The program began in Western Australia in 2004, and has now also been successfully introduced to South Australia.
Support for the Watch Around Water campaign in Victoria has been provided by the Play It Safe By The Water campaign. We are encouraging all aquatic facilities to become involved in the program to work together to help make facilities safer.
For further information on Watch Around Water, or how your facility can get involved, contact Training Services on (03) 9676 6950 or via firstname.lastname@example.org.
To view a list of Victorian Watch Around Water facilities, please click here.
Watch Around Water Evaluation Reports
Life Saving Victoria, along with Aquatics & Recreation Victoria would also like to acknowledge Leisure Institute of WA Aquatics (LIWA) and Royal Life Saving Western Australia who developed this program.