Australia's Royal Lifesaving Society (RLS) recently published figures indicating a shocking proportion of Australian children that are unable to swim. According to the data, one-fifth of children-about 50,000-will leave primary school this year without knowing how to swim.
The RLS figures show that the number of deaths by drowning has increased by 20% in the last two years. The society further found that drowning rates were significantly higher among in-land populations than metropolitan or coastal populations. Indeed, the figures indicated that the majority of Australia's reported drowning deaths occur in in-land waterways, which include lakes, dams and lagoons.
The Society says implementing mandatory water safety lessons in school would reduce drowning incidents in regional areas, but added that they require supplements in resources in order to address the issue.
Rob Bradley, RLS CEO, said: "What we're finding throughout Austr4alia is there's many areas in rural communities that have difficulty accessing programmes and accessing water facilities so that the children can go through this important programme".
RLS will launch a campaign to encourage swimming and water safety lessons in schools. "It's absolutely essential that these swimming and water safety skills and also knowledge are acquired by all children", said Mr. Bradley.