International students raise beach safety awareness

24 October 2018

Summer is just around the corner and safety is a priority for a group of international students newly enlisted as Beach Safety Advisors by Surf Life Saving NSW under a Study NSW supported initiative to help save lives.

Director - Trade, International Education and Small Business Operations, Peter Mackey said the students are from countries with coastlines including China, India, Pakistan, Iran, Bangladesh, Hong Kong and also from landlocked locations like Nepal and Switzerland.

“Our beautiful beaches are among the world’s best and they are a magnet for millions of overseas visitors but the fact is many aren't used to swimming in our conditions or may not be aware of the potential risks,” Mr Mackey said.

“This new initiative from Study NSW and Surf Life Saving NSW means international students will get advice on surf safety from their student peers as soon as they touch down at Sydney Airport.

“Beach Safety Advisors will work with Surf Life Saving NSW to deliver safety messages at the International Student Airport Welcome Desk at Sydney Airport and at other student community education events.

“NSW has over 236,000 international students and the Airport Welcome Desk plays an important role greeting new arrivals and providing information about Sydney and NSW, including practical matters like accommodation and transport.”

Surf Life Saving NSW CEO Steven Pearce said the organisation delivers surf safety community education programs to audiences from pre-school through to seniors and corporate clients, including culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) groups.

“We have an active program targeting international students which will be further enhanced thanks to the Study NSW Beach Safety Advisors initiative.

“The Beach Safety Advisors are coached on communication and swim safety including the ‘Seven Summer Safety Tips’ of swim between the flags, read safety signs, never swim under the influence, if you need help raise your arm, swim with a  friend, be sun safe, and dial 000 Police in an emergency.

“They are also taught about rips and other hazards such as marine stingers. Students have further options to join a local surf club and do additional training - perhaps even become a fully fledged lifesaver one day.”

For more information on beach safety download the Beachsafe App or visit the Surf Life Saving NSW website.