Aussie lifeguards push beach safety for tourists

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Aussie lifeguards push beach safety for tourists

ADELAIDE, Australia — A beach safety campaign including in-flight videos and brochures in eight languages was launched Thursday by Australian lifeguards seeking to reduce the number of drowning deaths on Australian beaches.

The move coincides with the release of an annual report by Surf Life Saving Australia that showed one-third of drowning victims in the last year were international tourists or migrants.

Australia is known for its laid-back beach lifestyle, and locals are raised with beach rules that include only swimming between flags placed along shore, swimming with a friend, and watching the beach for any safety warning signs.

In the 2009-2010 season, the overall number of coastal drowning deaths in Australia dropped to 82, from a five-year average of 88, said the report by Australia’s lifeguard organization. Twenty-six of those were tourists and migrants, compared to nine in 2006.

“Our research indicates that this high-risk group has limited English skills, a lack of knowledge about the beach, overestimate their swimming ability, inadequate swimming skills and a general lack of surf safety awareness,” Surf Life Saving Australia CEO Brett Williamson said in a statement.

Williamson said Surf Life Saving had worked with multicultural marketing experts to develop a campaign to spread “essential beach safety messages” to a diverse audience.

Six international airlines have agreed to screen an animated safety video before landing in Australia, and the life saving organization will produce brochures, posters and online games in English, Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Hindi, Malay and Arabic.

The material will be distributed at tourism conventions and by lifeguards at beaches.


Beach safety campaign:

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