Focus on boat safety for children
“They end up teaching information that someone else has passed on to do, whereas with me they get a hands on practical experience.
“With a country of over 450,000 boats there's a chance that kids are going to go out on the open water at some stage.”
Information covered in the theory section of the course includes safety equipment found on a boat, personal safety devices and anchors. While the practical session gets participants in the water to feel the stability of a boat, swimming underneath and climbing back on board, plus performing rescues from boats.
In the last 12 months about 25,000 school students have gone through the course – which has doubled in size from the previous year.
“Every student gets a certificate with Coastguard Boating Education on it. Our hope is it goes home to mum and dad who then consider doing a course themselves.
“It is our goal is to make the kids ambassadors for the Safe Boating programme.”
Bayswim's Schools in Pools programme provides swimming lessons to all primary schools age groups up to years 5 and 6. It is supported by Sport Bay of Plenty and Water Safety NZ. Manager Sean Tretheway says last summer the Bay of Plenty suffered the highest drowning rate in the country.
“It's a major concern for me, especially when we are surrounded by the ocean. We want everyone to be safe and enjoy being in the water.
“Over the last two years Schools in Pools has grown rapidly and we're aiming for to put 3500 kids through the programme this year.”
Sean's objective now is to modify Schools in Pools to include the Safe Boating course, with the aim of delivering it by the next school term. They also plan to offer the course to other schools who do not take part in their programme as an end of year day trip leading into Christmas.
“So instead of coming in and spending the day on the hydroslide, they'll come in and play on an inflatable boat with life jackets instead.” Sean says the Safe Boating course was a fun and interesting day of learning and would like to thank Julia and the Pub Charity for the opportunity to upskill his staff. The instructors were all really involved in this course and enjoyed what they learnt through the programme, he says. “They are really excited to and already you can see their brains already ticking over with ideas of how they'll run it.”
Article from SunLive: Posted at 7:01am Thursday 02 Oct, 2014 | By David Tauranga