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Australia: Surf Life Saving SA launches new water safety campaign for migrant families

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Students from Salisbury North Primary School learnt vital water safety skills at the beach today. (ABC News) © Provided by ABC NEWS Students from Salisbury North Primary School learnt vital water safety skills at the beach today. (ABC News)

Surf Life Saving SA says too many people from migrant families are drowning, and has launched a new campaign to help make a difference.

Over the past 17 years, 47 per cent of the coastal and drowning deaths in Australia were people born overseas.

Surf Life Saving SA has released a series of water safety videos in 20 different languages to directly address the issue.

It comes alongside practical lessons at the beach, including for students from the Salisbury North Primary School who took to the water today.

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Student Bianca Glenn, 11, said she learnt how to swim between the flags and raise her hand if she found herself in trouble in the water.

"I feel confident now about myself," she said.

Hamida Dossti, 12, said she had "a lot of fun" learning about water safety.

"I used to be so nervous because I never used to go into the water, but now I feel good," she said.

Salisbury North Primary School assistant principal Stefan Parente said the program was "hugely important" and "absolutely vital".

"We have lots of students who come to us who have never seen the beach before, who have no idea or very little idea about water safety," he said.

Mr Parente said the students "absolutely love the beach".

"The kids just want to get in there, they just want to have fun, but there are so many little things that they wouldn't be aware of, that they really need to know to stay safe at the beach," he said.

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Surf Life Saving SA chief executive officer Damien Marangon said "we are seeing too many people born overseas drowning in Australia".

"Last year in South Australia, 13 people lost their lives and we know again that a significant majority of those were people born overseas," he said.

Mr Marangon said the program teaches students vital beach safety skills.

"They're learning lots of little skills around rips and waves and tidal movement, just things that maybe would be the difference and save their life," he said.

Such lessons have taken on new importance after a seven-year-old boy died in a Para Hills backyard pool tragedy last week.

Multicultural Communities Council SA chief executive officer Helena Kyriazopoulos said the incident was "very sad for the whole family and the community".

"But it is so important for all children and parents to be aware of water safety."

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Ms Kyria said it was "amazing" to see the students excited about going to the beach.

"It's really lovely to see kids enjoying the water safely, and having the lifesavers around them is a fantastic way to do that," she said.

Today marks National Water Safety Day, and Surf Life Saving SA hopes their initiative will make local beaches a safer place to be.

"If programs like this even save one life, then it was worth it," Mr Marangon said.


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Teenager drowns while swimming across a lake after going to a wedding .
The 17-year-old was trying to swim across Lake Nagambie, in Victoria's Goldfields region, about 5pm on Saturday when he got into difficulty. Friends tried to save him but lost sight of him in the water.The 17-year-old was trying to swim across Lake Nagambie, in Victoria's Goldfields region, about 5pm on Saturday when he got into difficulty.

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