Western Australia Minister for Transport Simon O’ Brien
New Boating Safety Program Available In WA Primary Schools
Victor P Taffa
Students in Western Australian primary schools are the focus of a new initiative aimed at increasing awareness of the importance of safety on the water.
Launching the Junior Crew program at the Department of Transport’s Marine Education Boatshed in East Fremantle today, Western Australia Minister for Transport Simon O’Brien said the aim of the education package, specially designed for students in years three, four and five, was to introduce children throughout the State to boating safety messages.
“WA’s coastal lifestyle sees many school-aged children involved in a range of water-based activities. This program provides a basic understanding of the skills and knowledge required to be safe on the water.” Mr. O’Brien said.
“Developed over several years by Marine Education Boatshed officers, in consultation with the Western Australian Curriculum Council and the Department of Education, students are required to log completed activities to receive a Junior Crew Certificate.”
“The State-wide introduction of the program follows a comprehensive trial in selected WA primary schools last year which resulted in overwhelming support from teachers and the more than 300 students who participated.” Mr. O’Brien said.
The program provides a resource pack for teachers, including learning aides such as a story book introducing students to ‘Skip the Boat Safe Bird’, as well as worksheets and flash cards.
A feature of the program allows for students to receive a visit from Department of Transport marine officers and a patrol vessel.
The Minister said the introduction of the primary school program would complement the successful introduction of the Recreational Skipper’s Ticket (RST) in WA which had seen more than 129,000 people gain the marine qualification.
“The boating community’s support of the RST combined with the introduction of the Junior Crew program will see awareness of the need to be safe on the water increase to unprecedented levels in WA.” Mr. O’Brien said.
Students from Richmond Primary School in Bicton were presented with Junior Crew certificates today marking their completion of the program during the trial period last year.