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National Swimming and Water Safety Framework

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The National Swimming and Water Safety Framework was launched in August 2020.


Key industry organisations including Royal Life Saving Society – Australia; Swimming Australia; AUSTSWIM; Surf Life Saving Australia; Australian Swim Coaches and Teachers Association (ASCTA); Australian Swim Schools Association (ASSA); YMCA; Belgravia Leisure; and Kids Alive Do the Five.


The Framework aims to inform government, the education sector, aquatic industry, swim schools, swimming and water safety teachers, parents and individuals of the essential skills, knowledge, understanding, attitudes and behaviours for quality water safety education and to guide the development, provision and selection of holistic and balanced swimming and water safety programs.


The Framework sets out three national benchmarks or targets for children at the ages of 6, 12 and 17 years.


  • Every Australian at the age of 6 years should be able to swim continuously for at least five metres, submerge, move through an obstacle, and identify people and actions to help in an emergency;

  • Every Australian float in deep water at the age of 12 years should be able to at least tread water for 2 minutes and swim continuously for 50 metres, rescue a person using a non-swimming rescue technique with non-rigid aids, and perform a survival sequence wearing clothing;

  • 50% of all Australians at the age of 17 years should be able to tread water for five minutes, swim continuously for 400 metres, rescue an unconscious person in deep water, and perform a survival sequence wearing heavy clothing.


Royal Life Saving data shows that 75% of children stop swimming lessons before the age of nine years and that 40% of 12-year-olds are not achieving these benchmarks.


Go to Page Swimming and Water Safety Framework

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