Watch Around Water (WAW) is a public education and supervision awareness campaign run through local government and public aquatics and recreation facilities in Victoria. The campaign has been developed to address the growing issue of managing the effective supervision of children whilst visiting these facilities. The program is managed in partnership by Aquatics and Recreation Victoria (ARV) and Life Saving Victoria (LSV).
WAW is designed to complement and enhance existing centre policies and safety standards and can be implemented at any facility. Currently there are over 100 facilities in Victoria that have been accredited as WAW centres and 100 more throughout Western Australia, New South Wales and South Australia, providing nation-wide industry backing.
The program consists of five key components:
- Aquatic Facility Centre Policies
- Public Education Guidelines
- Staff Professional Development
- Environmental Analysis
- Centre Accreditation
Industry Need for the Program:
- There is often a common misconception by guardians that a lifeguards’ sole duty is to supervise young children at public aquatic facilities.
- The Royal Life Saving Society’s Guidelines for Safe Pool Operation (GSPO) recommends that lifeguards be employed at a minimum 1:100 patron ratio. This is based on the expectation that guardians will provide direct supervision of children.
- Supervision guidelines outlined in the GSPO specify supervision requirements for children under 10, however do not outline supervision requirements for much younger children.
Objectives of the Program:
To reduce the number of fatal and non-fatal drowning and associated injury in public aquatic and recreation facilities in Victoria, within the 0-14 year age group.
This can be achieved through:
- Adoption of state-wide supervision standards and practices at public aquatic facilities.
- Raising parental and carer awareness and knowledge of what constitutes appropriate levels of supervision of children.
- Increasing the proportion of parents and carers effectively supervising their children in public aquatic and recreation facilities.
- Developing the interpersonal skills of facility staff.
- Reducing the incidence of fatal and non-fatal drowning.
- Introducing supervision policies at participating facilities to improve parental and carer supervision that go beyond current industry provisions.
- Promoting the need for children under 5 to be constantly supervised and to remain within arm’s reach of a parent or carer. (If the child is in the water, the parent or carer must be in the water too).
- Promoting the need for children under 10 to be accompanied into an aquatic and recreation facility and for them to be constantly supervised by a parent or carer. (The parent or carer must have a clear view of the child at all times.)