Welcome to PULSE

(New Online Version)

Royal Life Saving NSW has moved to a new and improved online version of PULSE newsletter to keep our Members and Examiners  up to date on news, developments and changes to life saving and practices. We hope you enjoy and we look forward to your feedback.

Tragic start to the year

Between 1 December 2015 and 18 January 2016 (inclusive), Royal Life Saving has recorded 59 drowning deaths. For the previous Summer period there were 51 drowning deaths between 1 December 2014 and 19 January 2015 inclusive.

Tragically, this is a 16% increase on the same period last year. With 10 of these drowning deaths occurring on public holidays.

Historically we see a spike in drownings across the warmer months and the holiday period. Tragically, so far this summer we have seen 59 drowning deaths, including 10 on public holidays. As we approach the Easter and school holiday period Royal Life Saving urges everyone to take care, avoid unnecessary risks and be safe around the water.

Men are most at risk, with 80% of all drowning deaths recorded across summer to date being males. This reflects national annual trends that find men drown at 4 times the rate of women. David Macallister says “Men need to stop taking unnecessary risks when swimming, fishing or boating this coming holiday period. Don’t go swimming if you’ve been drinking, wear lifejackets when boating or rock fishing and look after each other when you’re around the water.”

Inland waterways claimed the largest number of lives over the Summer period, with 20 (34%) drowning deaths to date, compared to 18 (31%) at beaches and 12 (20%) in ocean/harbour locations. Royal Life Saving reminds people of the dangers that rivers, creeks, lakes and dams can pose. David Macallister says “Our rivers continue to claim too many lives in preventable tragedies. It’s important people Respect the River and follow four simple safety tips: Wear a Lifejacket, avoid alcohol around water, never swim alone and learn how to save a life.”

Royal Life Saving is aware of a further 66 non-fatal drownings across the country. Fourteen of these cases were children under the age of 10, with children under five in home swimming pools accounting for over half (57%) of these reported non-fatal drownings in children. Children drown quickly and silently, it is important that children are actively supervised within arms’ reach at all times. Ensure the home swimming pool is fenced with a correctly installed and regularly maintained pool fence with a self-closing and self-latching gate.

Supervision of young children is also key at BBQs and social gatherings over the Easter period. Parents and carers of young children should always KEEP WATCH, ensure there is a designated adult supervisor watching at all times and to ensure the person supervising have not been drinking alcohol.

If you are heading to unfamiliar aquatic locations over the upcoming holiday period, ensure you observe warning signs and be aware of the conditions before entering the water. Never swim alone and if you are visiting the beach ensure you swim at patrolled beaches between the red and yellow flags.

Royal Life Saving Summer Drowning Toll – Key Findings

  • 59 people have drowned in Australian waterways between 1 December 2015 and 18 January 2016 (inclusive). This year’s data shows a 16% increase on the same period last year.
  • Last Summer, across the same period, there were 51 drowning deaths between 1 December 2014 to 19 January 2015 (inclusive).
  • 10 drowning deaths in 2015/16 have occurred on public holidays.
  • There have been a further 66 non-fatal drownings nationally across the same period.

Royal Life Saving’s Summer Drowning Prevention Tips

  • Always actively supervise children around water. For more information visit
  • Rivers are the leading location for drowning every year in Australia. Learn about the risks and safety tips at
  • Ensure swimming pools are fenced with a correctly installed and regularly maintained pool fence with a self-closing and self-latching gate
  • Never swim alone or undertake any form of aquatic activity under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • When boating, always wear a PFD, check weather conditions before setting off and tell someone where you are going and when you are due back
  • Always swim at patrolled beaches between the red and yellow flags

Summer Fatal Drowning Toll 2015/16 – Top 3 Age Groups

  • 25-34 years - 10 drowning deaths (17%)
  • 35-44 years – 9 drowning deaths (15%)
  • 45-54 years – 8 drowning deaths (14%)

Summer Fatal Drowning Toll 2015/16 – Top 3 Activities Prior to Drowning

  • Swimming and Recreating – 17 drowning deaths (29%)
  • Watercraft Incidents – 12 drowning deaths (20%)
  • Falls into water – 6 drowning deaths (10%)

Water Smart Education Tool

The Water Smart Education Toolkit is a comprehensive resource for teachers from schools and swim schools to teach a unit of water safety.

The Water Smart Toolkit is free and is available to all that register, examiners and non-examiners alike.

The toolkit contains curriculum materials, unit outlines with activity descriptors, teacher notes, activity sheets in PDF and SMART Notebook formats, water safety tips, posters and video clips, suitable for the Foundation Year to Year 10.

Please share the registration information below with your fellow colleagues/staff and help Royal Life Saving NSW to reduce the incidence of Drowning.

Steps to register:
  1. Go to:
  2. Select the “Schools” banner
  3. Select “Register My Interest”
  4. Complete all details and submit
  5. A password will be automatically emailed to you, giving access to the Restricted Schools Zone
  6. Login at anytime to utilise the resources

Australian Pool Life Saving Championships 2016

Queensland dominated this year’s competition, winning the CPR Competition, all three age groups, the overall women’s competition and the overall championship by 66 points from NSW.

Bradley Woodward (NSW) was announced the Male Lifesaver and Samantha Howe (VIC) the Female Lifesaver of the Meet. Samantha broke a junior world record in the 50m carry.

Over 190 champion lifesavers competed, with the following NSW athletes named in Australian Representative teams:

2016 Aussie Barras Squad

Keelan Bridge - NSW
Tim Schofield – NSW
Bradley Woodward - NSW
Ela Heiniger - NSW
Rachelle King - NSW

Silver Barras (Under 19)

Ethan Garland - NSW
Callum Lowe-Griffiths - NSW
Jemma Smith - NSW
Team Manager - Max Gonzalez - NSW

Junior Barras (Under 16)

Jake Evans - NSW
Christopher King - NSW
Keeley Booth - NSW
Team Coach - Blake McCrindle - NSW

Big thanks to the team of officials who traveled from across Australia to attend and officiate this event. We truly appreciate your time, knowledge, support and commitment to the sport of Pool Life Saving.

Summer Safety Sunday

Minister for Local Government Paul Toole and Minister for Emergency Services David Elliott with music legend Iva Davies and Lochie the Lifeguard help to launch Summer Safety Sunday.
Royal Life Saving research shows in the past 13 years in NSW, 83 children have died in a backyard swimming pool. In the past 10 years, at least 70 children have suffered neurological damage due to an immersion in a pool and at least 1,000 children have ended up in hospital for the same reason.

Royal Life Saving NSW CEO, David Macallister, says everybody needs to run a full safety check on their backyard pool and spa, to help prevent tragedies.

On 29th November 2015, Royal Life Saving launched the ‘Summer Safety Sunday’ initiative. This initiative highlights that often the most dangerous aquatic location exists in our own backyards and is therefore urging people everywhere to ensure swimming pools and spas are checked for any and all safety issues – and to ensure they are fully compliant and safe.

“Summer Safety Sunday is all about people taking action during summer – being prepared and making sure their pools remain compliant. If a pool gate isn’t closing properly, please get it fixed. If your fence needs some kind of repair, take action. It is never worth the risk. Fences need to be maintained and in good condition. We urge people to check it, fix it and watch it.”

Minister for Local Government, the Hon. Paul Toole MP, said “In the last 13 years, 83 young children drowned in NSW swimming pools. This is a distressing figure which reminds us of the important of pool safety. As the we approach another holiday period, homeowners and carers should be vigilant in maintaining safety and supervision near pools and swimming areas.”

“We can avoid drowning deaths and injuries by ensuring child-resistant pool fences are well-maintained and pool gates are self-closing or self-latching and regularly checked. Pool owners should also register their pool with their local council or online if they have not already done so.”

Members of the public can download a free checklist from or  The extensive websites have a wide range of educational fact sheets, information about courses and more for people to obtain.

Minister Paul Toole added, “Losing a life through accidental drowning can happen in a matter of seconds. We are urging homeowners to check their pools and spas are consistent with NSW pool safety requirements, which can be found easily in online pool barrier checklists.”

Royal Life Saving NSW urges people to follow four key rules. Supervise – all of the time. Restrict access for children – fence the pool and have a self-closing/self-latching gate. Make sure children have water awareness and swimming skills and learn resuscitation.

Royal Life Saving says it is critical people realise supervision is not an occasional glance whilst you are busy doing other things – pointing out you have to be in constant visual contact with your child. They say some problems start around pools because people are trying to do too many things at once. They highlight older children should never be responsible for trying to look after younger children in an aquatic environment because supervision is an adult’s job.

Royal Life Saving is also urging people to learn the skills of CPR – pointing out many people aren’t sure how to save a life. David Macallister said, “Often in an emergency situation, it is a family member who is first on the scene. Please learn the skills of CPR.”

“We often don’t hear a great deal about the tragedies happening across the State when children get into big trouble, are saved but still end up in hospital with all kinds of complications. Some children who are resuscitated end up with highly complex neurological conditions that can range from being mild to severe. You can never afford to have a child near water unsupervised.”

“We want people out there enjoying our fabulous environment and backyards. We are very blessed. The key has to be safety – and being vigilant. Go to or visit the hash tag #SummerSafe.”

Marc Arcuri Cup Raises $30,000 For Defibrillators

Marc Arcuri was 15 years-old when he died of a cardiac arrest on the football field, but 16 months later, the foundation named in his honour is doing its bit to help save lives.

It started out as a kick around between friends but over a year later, the Marc Arcuri Cup has grown beyond its organisers' wildest dreams.

In 2014, the 12-team six-a-side football tournament raised $6500, with the funds used to purchase defibrillators for Marc's former club Austral, as well as Norwest FC and Forest Rangers.
Last year’s tournament grew to 32 teams, generated more than six times that amount with a final tally of $40,000.
Foundation co-founders Robby Mansour (Marc’s cousin) and Alex Cauchi are delighted to see the goals being kicked on and off the field.
“Our family has been blown away by the response. It’s great to see that such a tragic event has brought out the best in people. We always knew we had a generous group of friends and family but the response to the Cup has been overwhelming,” Robby said.
“There is a major appetite out there to stop this from ever happening again. I think people were so touched by Marc’s story because if it could happen to a young seemingly healthy kid like my cousin, it could happen to anyone.”
Alex Cauchi said that the goal was to get defibrillators onto as many suburban sporting grounds as possible.
“This is a huge issue facing football as we’ve seen with a number of deaths on suburban grounds in Sydney over the last couple of years. The aim of our community partnership with Royal Life Saving NSW is to get as many defibrillators onto suburban grounds as possible so that hopefully we can avoid tragedy.”
Cardiac arrests on the football field aren't uncommon, with 11 players losing their lives in the past two years. Some were amateurs, while the over-45 age category remains most at risk. However, it seems that age doesn't discriminate with Marc, and 24 year-old Bankstown City Lions' player, Kodjo Adjassou, both passing away in 2014.
It's uncertain whether a defibrillator in those cases would have saved lives, but having one readily available greatly increases the chances of survival.
“A victim’s best chance of surviving sudden cardiac arrest is to receive a shock from a defibrillator” says David Macalister, Chief Executive Officer of Royal Life Saving NSW.
“For every minute defibrillation is delayed the chance of survival decreases by 10%. Sudden cardiac arrest can strike anyone, anytime, anywhere.”
The units cost between $2000 and $3000, but don't require any qualification or formal training. In fact, the unit itself will talk the user through the process, including CPR.


More people die from sudden cardiac arrest than from breast cancer, prostate cancer, house fires, hand guns and traffic accidents combined.
To donate to the Marc Arcuri Foundation, visit their Facebook page at
Royal Life Saving is a proud community partner who will provide training and product support for participating clubs. The more defibrillators that are publically accessible the greater chance we have to save a life.

Respect The River
New Royal Life Saving research shows 996 people have drowned in Australian rivers since 1 July 2002 as Royal Life Saving launches a major educational campaign called "Respect the River".

Rivers now account for over one quarter of all drowning deaths (26%), making rivers the leading location for drowning in Australia. Nationally over the past 13 years, 35% of river drowning deaths are known to have involved alcohol.

The large number of people drowning in our rivers, creeks and streams is alarming. In launching the Respect the River campaign, Royal Life Saving aims to raise awareness of the sheer number of people drowning in our rivers every year and the preventable nature of these tragedies.

Rivers can be very hazardous environments. Often you cannot see ice cold water, snags like tree branches or strong currents. They can be lethal. Royal Life Saving is asking people to follow four simple steps to reduce their drowning risk in rivers: wear a lifejacket, avoid alcohol around water, never swim alone and learn how to save a life. It’s simple, Respect the River.

The Respect the River campaign was officially launched by the Hon Sussan Ley MP Minister for Sport and Minister for Health. The media conference was held on Sunday 25th October 2015, on the banks of the Murray River at Albury.

As part of the Respect the River campaign Royal Life Saving released a series of community service announcements on TV, radio, print and online to alert people of the dangers that rivers pose, and also advising on how to enjoy them safely. These are supported by a range of fact sheets, educational activities and a series of video testimonials from local safety personnel and river users.

Also, as part of the Respect the River campaign Royal Life Saving is partnering with local stakeholder groups to drive geographically based drowning action plans which include visiting schools and talking to communities, campers, boat users and recreational water users advising them on how to stay safe.

The Murray River Drowning Report, released by Royal Life Saving Society – Australia shows that 68 people lost their lives due to drowning in the Murray River since 1 July 2002, making the Murray the number one river drowning black spot in Australia.

90% of all drowning victims in the Murray River are male, with the 45-54 years age group accounting for almost one fifth of all drowning deaths (19%). Watercraft incidents accounted for the largest proportion of drowning deaths (31%). This was followed by swimming and recreating (24%) and incidents involving non-aquatic transport (13%).

Alcohol was known to be involved in over one third of all drowning deaths (40%), with one in five drowning victims recording a Blood Alcohol Content reading of twice the legal limit or higher (0.1mg/L).

Australian rivers are beautiful and can be great places to recreate, from boating to swimming to kayaking and even enjoying the environment along the river bank. We want everyone to enjoy these beautiful natural environments but to do so safely, by showing rivers the respect they deserve.
For more information on the Respect the River campaign click here

Key Murray River Drowning Facts at a Glance

  • 68 people have drowned in the Murray River between 1 July 2002 and 30 June 2015.
  • 90% of drowning victims in the Murray River were male
  • The top three age groups for drowning were 45-54 years (19% of all drowning deaths), 25-34 years (18%) and the 18-24 and 35-44 years age group (13% respectively)
  • Watercraft incidents were the leading activity being undertaken prior to drowning in the Murray River (31%)
  • This was followed by Swimming and Recreating (24%) and Non-Aquatic Transport Incidents (13%).
  • 40% of drowning deaths were known to involve alcohol
  • 21% of all drowning victims recorded a blood alcohol content reading of 0.1mg/L or higher (twice the legal limit).

Respect The River – River Safety Tips

  • Wear a Lifejacket
  • Avoid Alcohol Around Water
  • Never Swim Alone
  • Learn How To Save A Life

National Top 10 River Drowning Black Spots (2002-2012)

  1. Murray River
  2. Brisbane River (QLD)
  3. Yarra River (VIC)
  4. Swan River (WA)
  5. Hawkesbury River (NSW)
  6. Murrumbidgee River (NSW)
  7. Sandy Creek (QLD)
  8. Derwent River (TAS)
  9. Katherine River (NT)
  10. Macquarie River (NSW)​

Heavily Subsidised Aquatic Training

Certificate III in Aquatics (Sydney)

In recent years the aquatic and recreation industry have utilised the Sport, Fitness and Recreation Training Package to identify relevant industry qualifications. Training Packages reflect industry needs and provide qualification pathways to support industry development.

The current Sport, Fitness and Recreation Training Package contains a qualification titled SIS30113 Certificate III in Aquatics. This qualification provides the skills and knowledge for an individual to be competent in a range of activities and functions requiring autonomous work within a defined range of situations and activities in an aquatic setting. 

Royal Life Saving NSW in partnership with the NSW Government is currently offering 25 subsidised scholarships to equip passionate individuals with a Certificate III in Aquatics. Royal Life Saving will work with Sydney based aquatic facilities to facilitate the qualification opportunity. By completing the qualification candidates will be able to work in the aquatic and recreation industry as Pool Lifeguards, Swim Teachers and / or Technical Operators.

For further information on this initiative please contact Nicola Jamieson at 
Royal Life Saving Society - New South Wales
34/10 Gladstone Road, Castle Hill NSW 2154
PO Box 8307, Baulkham Hills BC NSW 2153
T 02 9634 3700
F 02 9634 8529