VACSWIM Programs on Kangaroo Island

28 September 2020

Surf Life Saving SA 'Surf and Survive' VACSWIM Programs at Penneshaw, Emu Bay and Vivonne Bay

The Surf Life Saving SA 'Surf and Survive' VACSWIM program has been delivered and enjoyed on Kangaroo Island beaches for many years. The program provides children aged 5-13 an opportunity to develop a range of skills in water safety, first aid including CPR, personal survival techniques and aquatic emergency procedures. These fundamental skills are vital for children to know, especially living in remote areas.

Last summer, bushfires devastated the island. Despite the chaos, the resilient Kangaroo Island community instructors continued to deliver this vital program. Feedback from the community was that it would be beneficial for the program to proceed, as it would boost morale and would provide the children with a sense of normality in an unfamiliar situation.

Due to the catastrophic fire danger, Vivonne Bay Vacswim had to be relocated to Emu Bay. Despite the situation, it was amazing to see so many families still attending the program at all three sites. There were 168 participants at Emu Bay, 40 participants at Penneshaw and 60 participants in the Vivonne Bay program.

Behind the scenes, Instructor in Charge, Rhana Berlin, completed a mountain of work to ensure that the three programs on Kangaroo Island were able to be delivered successfully, and went above and beyond her job description and expectations - highlighting the passion, dedication and capability of our instructors. She was in constant consultation with local authorities, the Kangaroo Island Council, Surf Life Saving SA and the Country Fire Service (CFS) Incident Management Department to ensure the safety of participants and staff. The team at Surf Life Saving SA are very proud of the resilience, commitment and poise she demonstrated.

Surf Life Saving SA will continue to facilitate the VACSWIM 'Surf and Survive' program at the three Kangaroo Island sites in January 2021: Penneshaw, Emu Bay and Vivonne Bay. Enrol now!

Photograph by Maggie's Photography