Watch Around Water was started in 2004 in Western Australia following a spate of tragic drowning deaths involving young children at public swimming pools. The incidents prompted the WA Coroner to state that:
‘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 which is required for many children. Public awareness needs to ensure that adults in the community understand that supervision of children in the water must be direct, competent and alert’.
There was also a growing concern amongst the Western Australian aquatics industry regarding the levels of parental supervision of young children at public swimming pools. At the time many centres were promoting safe supervision policies and messages, however it was acknowledged that an industry wide program was needed to promote a consistent message regarding supervision and make all venues safer.
- In 2006 the program was activated at The City of Unley Swimming Centre, with a few of the larger local government operated facilities following suit in 2007.
- In 2014 the program attracted major sponsorship through Clubs SA which allowed for a project officer to be employed on 1 day a week to develop the program and attract an additional 17 swimming centres to adopt the program.
- In 2015 the program has gained support from Hon Tony Piccolo, Minister for Emergency Services, plus a new partnership with Local Government Association of SA will see a sponsorship deal allowing new Councils to sign their swimming pools up to the program at a discounted price.
- In 2016 a Code of Practice for Public Swimming Pools in South Australia was released with Watch Around Water a minimum recommendation. To read more about the Code of Practice, please click here