Learning to swim could save your life or the life of a loved one

  • Date: 02 November 2012
  • Category: News
Girl with goggles from YMCA CSA

Australia is surrounded by the ocean, has an abundance of rivers and open water and more pools per capita than anywhere else in the world. It goes without saying that we are a nation that needs to know how to swim to reduce the risk of drowning.

However, research indicates that learning to swim is something many are missing out on with 50,000 children leaving primary school each year unable to swim 50 metres. This is a key factor in the alarming number of drowning deaths occurring across the country year after year.

This week we launched a national TV campaign in partnership with the SBS Foundation to urge all Australians to learn to swim. The campaign highlights the fact that swimming is a skill for all ages, genders and ethnicities and is vital in order to enjoy and stay safe in the water.


According to Royal Life Saving’s 2012 Drowning Report:

  • 284 people drowned in Australia in the year to June 2012.
  • While many of the lives claimed were young children, a vast majority (205) were aged 25 and over.
  • What’s more, those from culturally and linguistically diverse communities and our Indigenous population are particular at-risk communities, with Indigenous Australians over three times more likely to drown than other Australians. These communities are also more likely to be faced with financial and geographic barriers to learning to swim, barriers that need to be broken.

We're here to help

Through a range of programs targeting the young, old and those from culturally and linguistically diverse communities, the YMCA is committed to ensuring everyone is given the opportunity to learn this life saving skill.

The YMCA is the largest provider of swimming lessons in the country, operating 140 aquatic facilities and 88 outdoor pools, and teaching 40,000 Australians how to swim each year. Our mission that no one willing but unable to pay for lessons will be denied access is ensuring more people in local communities can be happier and safer in the water.

Find your local YMCA pool.