Learning to swim and know water culture of Australia should be a must for migrants from Indian subcontinent

Sujan Sharma and Sujan Adhikari

The Indian Down Under has always been warning about the unpredictability of ocean waves, the beaches and safety precautions people from Indian sub-continent must take. Indians from the north of India who have never seen the ocean get naturally attracted to the sea, its vastness and the waves that just have this great attraction to the newcomers. Most north Indians have not been near water and do not know how to swim. Some of the rocky beaches in Australia and rivers and lagoons can be quite dangerous. Fatal waves such as the rips hit the shores and non-swimmers just get taken by them by surprise. Any young Australian swimmer as young as 7 years here knows how to swim in a rip.

On December 1 last year Randwick Local Government Area announced mandatory requirement to wear a life jacket as part of a 12-month trial aimed at increasing safety on the state’s coast. It was after an Afghani man who got drowned while rock fishing at Malabar.

Another two very sad deaths followed of Nepalese men. One was Sujan Adhikari and other Sujan Sharma. 27-year old Sujan Sharma drowned on December 26 while swimming in a river in the Kangaroo valley while 29-year old Sujan Adhikari on December 25, Christmas day, died at Wattamolla Lagoon in the Royal National Park.

Teaching migrants water culture of Australia is a must and has been called by water safety advocates for mandatory swimming classes even in primary schools since there have been 18 drownings this summer, a very high number as many as on  the roads during this Christmas period.

Emergency Services Minister David Elliott has pleaded people to take responsibility for their safety and expects that people learn swimming, “Though they live in NSW they do not know how to swim.” Adding that the government is not and cannot be at every beach, creek, or a river to watch for people’s safety.

Migrants from India and Indian subcontinent also may not stress on their children to learn swimming. Water skills, education about water safety and awareness about water culture is a must and very important for people who naturally get attracted to water and beach when they arrive in Australia.

6 Steps to survive a riptide:

  1. Keep your feet on the bottom as much as possible when swimming in surf conditions. …
  2. Remain calm if a rip current begins to pull you away from shore. …
  3. Regain your footing if possible. …
  4. Call for help immediately if you can’t swim well.
  5. Swim parallel to shore to get out of the current.

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