Watch Around Water

Updated Policy in effect from Friday, 17 December 2021


Watch Around Water is an educational and awareness program that addresses the growing industry concern regarding levels of parental supervision of children while visiting aquatic facilities.

The aim of the program is to reduce the number of fatal and non-fatal drowning incidents and aquatic injury involving young children under 14 years of age at public swimming pool facilities in Western Australia.

Since the introduction of the program in 2004, there have been no drowning deaths involving young children in public swimming pool facilities in WA and pool managers are reporting increased levels of parental supervision.

However, both parents and lifeguards need to continue to work together to keep children safe.

South Hedland Aquatic Centre and Gratwick Aquatic Centre are proud Watch Around Water facilities.

Key Objectives

  1. To provide state-wide parental supervision standards and practices at public swimming pool facilities throughout Western Australia
  2. Increase and improve aquatic staff knowledge and skills regarding safe supervision practices
  3. Improve awareness, and provide knowledge to caregivers, of appropriate supervision levels for children at public swimming pool facilities
  4. Increase the proportion of caregivers that effectively supervise their children while at public swimming pool facilities

Parents Supervise Lifeguards Save Lives

Even though lifeguards are on duty at public pools, parents still have a crucial role to play in the supervision of children while visiting these facilities – Both parents and lifeguards need to work together to keep children safe

Key Messages

  • Under Six – Always Keep within Arm’s Reach
    If your child is below six (6) years of age, the Responsible Adult  must be within arm’s reach – If the child is in the water, you must be as well
  • Under Twelve – Always Keep in Sight
    If your child is below twelve (12) years of age, the Responsible Adult  must maintain constant visual line of sight and be prepared to enter the water at any time
  • No More Than Four
    Each Responsible Adult  can supervise a maximum of four (4) children
  • Be Aware of Distractions
    Take steps to minimise distractions – Such as mobile phones and chatting with other parents
  • Be Prepared
    Ensure you have everything prepared before getting in the water – Such as towels and dry clothes

Is It Effective?

While the program has been very effective, it is essential to ensure that the message is continually promoted to ensure its continued success. A child can drown in less than 20 seconds – It happens quickly and silently, and often in the short time when supervision is absent as a result of distraction.

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