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Swim Kids Operation 10,000

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New in-depth report reveals sad statistics on youth drowning as Australians call for mandatory swimming and water safety lessons for children
Campaign launched to help combat child drowning

Despite an increase of swim and survive safety activities since 2002, an in-depth report released by Royal Life Saving Society – Australia shows that youth drowning rates have not dramatically decreased in Australia.

Australians are fed up with these youth drowning rates, with a Newspoll survey conducted last week revealing that 92% of Australians believe that swimming and water safety lessons should be mandatory for all Australian primary school aged children.

Compiled from a study of National Drowning Reports since 2002, the report has revealed that nearly 600 young Australians aged between 0 – 19 have drowned in this timeframe, with 54% of these deaths (318) coming from children aged between just 0 and 4. The in-depth report comes as a new campaign is launched today to help fund swimming lessons for 10,000 less fortunate children.

Whilst there is strong support for mandatory swim lessons, cost appears to be a key factor in preventing people from giving their children lessons, with 80% of the 1200 people surveyed agreeing that the cost of swimming and water safety lessons prevents a lot of people from having them.

This is supported by the Royal Life Saving report which found that children from indigenous, culturally and linguistically diverse and regional and remote areas, as well as those from lower socio-economic and disadvantaged areas are missing out on learning how to swim and survive.

These children are the focus of SWIM KIDS OPERATION 10,000, a new campaign launched today by UNCLE TOBYS® in association with Royal Life Saving. In response to the drowning study, UNCLE TOBYS® has developed SWIM KIDS OPERATION 10,000, a fundraising campaign to help raise funds to provide FREE swim and survive lessons for 10,000 less fortunate children in Australia.

Australia will engage with local children’s charities like Barnardos Australia, to help identify the children who will be provided with FREE Swim and Survive lessons

A custom built swimming pool will occupy Customs House in Sydney for 10,000 minutes to promote the cause and raise funds to help fund much needed swim and survive lessons. For 10,000 minutes, passionate water safety advocate and mother, Melissa Rickwood will be spending her time at the pool and at home, spreading the message and encouraging the community to support the SWIM KIDS OPERATION 10,000 campaign.

Supporting the campaign is Olympic Legend and Dad of twin toddlers Charlize and Jager, Grant Hackett alongside current swimmer Eamon Sullivan. Speaking at the SWIM KIDS OPERATION 10,000 launch, UNCLE TOBYS® ambassador Grant Hackett said every Australian child should have the opportunity to learn about swimming and water safety.

‘We don’t want any Aussie kids to miss out on a water education. Swimming and water safety lessons should be accessible for all children.’

Eamon Sullivan, agreed saying, ‘Every child deserves a swimming and water safety education. Being taught how to swim and about water safety is a fundamental right of every Australian child.’

The first child to be given the opportunity to learn to swim and survive through SWIM KIDS Operation 10,000 is six year old Charbel. Grant Hackett assisted with Charbel’s swimming lessons and helped him overcome his fear of water. Royal Life Saving Society – Australia nominated Charbel to be the first recipient of this opportunity via their relationship with Barnardos Australia.

UNCLE TOBYS® Sponsorship and Digital Communications Manager, Angela Kominatos encouraged Australians to get behind the initiative. ‘We are proud to be associated with Royal Life Saving and working with them on such an important issue that affects the lives of so many Australian families. I encourage all Australians to get behind SWIM KIDS OPERATION 10,000 and help us help 10,000 less fortunate kids learn how to swim and survive.’

DONATIONS are tax deductible and can be made in person at the SWIM KIDS OPERATION 10,000 site at Customs House, or at and

The SWIM KIDS OPERATION 10,000 campaign will run until the end of 2012.

Additional Report Findings:

  • No significant decrease in drowning since 2002
  • Pool deaths are still the biggest killer when it comes to youth and drowning – drowning’s that are preventable. Over 1 in 3 of youth drowning deaths occur in swimming pools (34%)
  • Drowning rates grow at a rapid rate as children become older and leave parental supervision, with the rates of drowning deaths adolescents aged 15-19, increasing three fold from ages 15 to 19. Alarmingly, 87% of drowning victims are male. Therefore it is important that parents ensure that their children are taught how to swim and survive, as they will not always be able to supervise them.
  • 0 – 4 year olds make up the majority of drowning deaths – 58% of all drowning deaths in the past nine years have occurred in the 0-4 age group

What is SWIM KIDS?

SWIM KIDS is an initiative of UNCLE TOBYS® supported by Royal Life Saving Society – Australia designed to provide parents with the information, knowledge and tools they need to help teach their kids to swim safely. Parents are encouraged to visit and join other parents on to find out how they can help reduce child drowning.

The site includes:

  • A Swim School and Pool Locator of Royal Life Saving Society – Australia associated facilities. Find a Swim and Survive Swim School in your area by submitting your postcode.
  • FREE Swim and Survive Water Safety Lessons (video snap shots, featuring Olympic Swimming Champions Grant Hackett and Eamon Sullivan
  • Fun and safe water safety games to play with the family
  • Water safety and swimming tips for Mum’s and Dad’s wishing to learn more about how to keep their kids water safe

What is Swim and Survive?

Swim and Survive is a comprehensive swimming and water safety initiative of Royal Life Saving- Australia that seeks to increase the swimming and water safety skills of all Australian children in order to prevent drowning and increase participation in safe aquatic activity. The skills and knowledge learnt in the Swim and Survive program offer a level of protection, by providing children with solid foundation skills in swimming, survival and basic rescue.

How will money raised in SWIM KIDS OPERATION 10,000 be spent?:

Royal Life Saving Society – Australia will utilise the funds to provide FREE or subsidised Swim and Survive lessons to less fortunate children.

As a guide:

  • $5 provides a Swim and Survive lesson for a less fortunate child
  • $20 provides a child’s Swim Kit of goggles, swim cap and kickboard
  • $50 donation provides a 10-week (1 Term) Swim and Survive course for one child
  • $300 provides an accreditation course for a Swim and Survive Instructor in a rural or remote location

How will children be selected to receive the FREE swim and survive lessons?

  • Royal Life Saving Society – Australia will engage with local children’s charities like Barnardos Australia, to help identify the children who will be provided with FREE Swim and Survive lessons