Safety video launched to prevent international student drownings in NSW ahead of summer

A water safety video is today being launched in a bid to protect international students from drowning in NSW this summer.

NSW Police Force in partnership with Surf Life Saving NSW, Royal Life Saving NSW and Northern Beaches Council are launching the video today (Monday 7 December 2020), which was funded by Study NSW.

In the video, six students share their experience of the water to help raise awareness and save lives.

Among them is Nepalese international student Manisha Gautam, whose boyfriend tragically drowned a year ago in Bents Basin in Sydney’s west.

“He was trying to save his friends. He didn’t have any idea about safety procedures and measures. With so many peoples’ help they couldn’t save him,” said Manisha Gautam.

“It’s such a loss for the whole family and friends. It gives me a different idea about the importance of educating ourselves’ in water safety,” she said.

The video, which is subtitled in eight different languages, encourages international students to enrol in swimming lessons and familiarise themselves with water safety when swimming in the ocean, rock pools, rivers and pools or rock fishing.

Some of the recommended safety tips include:

  • Never swimming alone
  • Wearing a life jacket when fishing and boating
  • Avoiding alcohol around water and not drinking if you plan to swim
  • Learning Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR)

International students who come from landlocked countries and have limited experience with Australian water conditions are at the greatest risk of drowning.

“I think it is important for international students to adapt to the water culture in Australia because it is very different from where we are from. And this means there are also different dangers and types of risks,” said international student Manuella Sella, from Brazil.

“People are not expecting the currents to be so strong… but it is really dangerous,” she said.

Superintendent Rohan Cramsie – who is the– said he wanted international students to enjoy the wonderful waterways NSW had to offer.

“We want international students to safely enjoy the water in NSW. Drownings are extremely tragic due to their preventable nature. Understanding water safety and learning to swim can be the difference between life and death,” said Mr Cramsie.

“Surf Life Saving NSW, Royal Life Saving NSW and Northern Beaches Council have been working incredibly hard to make sure everyone is safe in the water. And they’ve done a fantastic job at getting international students involved in this campaign,” said Mr Cramsie.

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