Surf Life Saving New Zealand has been recognized for its efforts in teaching kids how to stay safe on the beach.
Its Beach Ed Programme has been crowned the winner of the ‘Education’ category at the 2012 Sealord New Zealand Water Safety Awards.
The country’s champions of water safety were announced at a ceremony at the Wellington Town Hall on Wednesday October 16. The award was picked up by Surf Life Saving New Zealand General Manager Programmes & Services, Brett Sullivan.
Beach Ed is well on its way to being delivered to one million primary and intermediate Kiwi school kids having been in operation since 1990. Supported by Water Safety New Zealand, Beach Ed helps kids to learn about surf and beach safety. They then put that learning into practice in a managed environment.
On average 50,000 students, their parents and teachers attend BeachEd every year. It is not intended as a “one size fits all” programme, rather it has been developed for a range of age groups and curriculum levels. BeachEd is delivered nationally through Surf Life Saving New Zealand’s trained lifeguards.
Surf Life Saving New Zealand Lifesaving Services and Education Manager Andy Kent says the award was a great honour.
In 2008, Beach Ed went through a comprehensive review where student learning was assessed both before and after attending a Beach Ed day. The outcome was excellent proving that Beach Ed works, he says. “Students not only enjoy their day at the beach but they take away and retain key water safety information. Many schools now include Beach Ed as a regular recurring part of their water safety education programmes,” he says.
Surf Life Saving New Zealand CEO Paul Dalton says Beach Ed is based on an evidential need. “Beach Ed addresses a high risk area in drowning death and injury. Nearly one quarter of all drowning happens at the beach and this has to be reduced.”
Water Safety New Zealand Chief Executive Matt Claridge says this year’s winners are true champions of water safety. “The awards are a great opportunity to acknowledge those organisations and individuals who excel in their commitment to water safety. We’re very proud of our winners, who have made an enormous contribution to making Kiwis safer in the water this year,” he says.