Drowning highlights gaps in safety

21/Mar/2013

Comments: 2 readers have left a comment

PEOPLE lined the sea wall in Mindarie.

Concerned, worried, anxious. Somebody’s loved one was under the water.

Turned out to be a lovely Sudanese boy – born in a Ugandan refugee camp and settled in Perth with his family three years ago.

Not a strong swimmer, it was said, with his death prompting a call from Surf Life Saving WA for a culture shift that migrants along with all children should be encouraged through government-funded campaigns to learn to swim, an essential skill for a West Australian.

But along with learning to swim comes learning about beach safety and all that entails. So to blame the City of Wanneroo for the tragic drowning of Jenon George Biwot at one of its beaches would be wrong.

It is a victim of its fast population growth and the attractiveness of some of its unpatrolled beaches.

Many of its overseas-born residents, lacking swimming skills and surf nous, have been caught out in rips just like migrants and tourists at other Perth metropolitan beaches .

The City, however, can help by adding its voice to the call for a swimming awareness campaign for new West Australians.

And it can act to expedite the audit it rightly called for from SLS WA, add words such as “caution” to its rip sign at the Claytons beach staircase and put a ‘dangerous rip’ message at the beach’s Long Beach Promenade entrance.

In the meantime, the openness and generosity of Jenon’s father has inspired the community to learn more about the Sudanese community without any prejudice based on whether they can swim.

And let the community surround this grieving family just as residents lined Alexandria View on Sunday evening, hoping against hope as volunteer sea rescue crews scoured the sea as if they were looking for their own.

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What everyone else is thinking

Helen Randall

02/05/2013

Nobody is blaming the city of Wanneroo Mr Bianchini we are highlighting the fact the the City of wanneroo needs to do something about Clayton beach and all its beaches with putting a beach policy in place.Put aside the boy who drowned what about the English man who drowned 7 weeks earlier he could swim but he was not warned of strong currents. Yes we all need to work together to fix this and this is not about blame. This is about lobbing the people who can do something about the issue. There is a petition going around ASKING the city to get a beach policy in place.

Micky Boy

22/03/2013

Whenever there is a new seaside development the ads on tv and in the paper say, close to safe family beaches, so why wouldn't newcomers think that the beaches weren't safe. Plus the fact that you never see a round throwing life buoy on a pole with a rope attached. All over the U.K.everywhere where the public come in contact with water, ie lakes, piers, bridges, beaches.ponds, rivers etc every 500 mts there are poles.I have never seen one in W.A. not one at Hillary's, Mindarie, or on any bridges. On the Narrows or Causeway bridges or at Freo wharf. When I rang the D.P.I.to ask why? I was told do you know how much that would cost. Yes about the same as it does in the U.K. I was also told that they would be stolen/vandalised. How come no one steals them in the UK as they have the name of the city or shire printed on them,making them useless to keep or sell.

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