Youngsters tackle beach safety

Molly Cooper addresses the kids on day two of their Vicswim course. (Pictures Ivan Kemp) 264270_02

By Justin Flynn

Around 650 youngsters will participate in Vicswim’s wildly popular Ocean Grove Open Water summer safety program this month.

The program runs for three weeks over January at Ocean Grove main beach and has five instructors.

One of the instructors, Molly Cooper, said the young people were roughly half locals and half from families who are holidaying on the Bellarine.

The main focus is on water safety and with the Ocean Grove classes being in the open water, Molly said the kids seem to really enjoy it.

“We do a lot of water safety,” she said.

“Ours is pretty specific to the beach so we talk about watching the lifeguards, where to swim and rock pools and we do some activities with boogie boards and life jackets. It’s quite a big program.”

The sessions are held all across the state, but Ocean Grove’s is one of the more popular locations.

“It’s extraordinarily popular and from what I hear from the parents it’s hectic trying to get into it – there’s high demand,” Molly said.

“The kids really like it and so do the parents I think.

We get a lot of the same kids back every year so they obviously like it enough to keep coming back to us.”

Molly said swimming is part of Australian culture and learning to swim and awareness of water safety was important.

“All age groups go to the beach and the pool and it’s really important especially when you see drowning rates,” she said.

“It’s scary but it’s nice to know a lot of young kids in Australia are in swimming lessons and programs.”

This summer’s sessions are all booked out and parents are advised to regularly check for next year’s enrolments.