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Ocean swim classes for kids are more important than ever

The importance of Learning to Swim is becoming all the more so with the influx of metropolitan newcomers to the region who are engaging with out beaches for the first time. While still water swim schools promise some degree of capability it is vital that our young ones learn to understand and respect the surf. Learning to swim at a local pool like Moruya and Narooma is one thing but to have the guidance of our local surf lifesaving clubs in how to read a rip and to understand the dynamics of the ocean is critical for any child (and adult) on the South East. While there might be wonderful incentives to learn how to swim in a pool such as the new Bay Pavilion 25m facility it does little to prepare the student for the reality of the surf. Operatives that focus on still water pools, for example, have little understanding of our rips and our cross currents. Fortunately we have excellent private swim schools in the region able to provide the transitory skills for our young ones. As a partner in the Royal Life Saving Society Swim & Survive Program, an AUSTSWIM Recognised Swim Centre Scheme, and a proud member of the Aquatics & Recreation Institute, the Shoalhaven Swim School offers comprehensive aquatic programs that are conducted year-round at our heated indoor facilities. The Shoalhaven Swim School Swim and Survive programs, just a short drive from Batemans Bay, are designed to help our South East children learn crucial water safety skills and healthy habits that they’ll carry throughout their lives.

With a focus on fun and active learning, each section of the program is structured into skill strands that ensures a balanced, comprehensive & instructional approach to your child's aquatic education.

All of their Swim & Survive instructors hold an AUSTSWIM Teacher of Swimming and Water Safety qualification and undergo regular training. Generally, in other facilities children might learn how to tread water or learn a few strokes such as breaststroke or freestyle to ensure they don't drown in a domestic pool but the true skillset required to survive our beaches comes from our local private swim schools and our Surf life saving clubs who are incredibly proactive in delivering real training in how to respect the surf. Surf lifesaving is a great activity for growing a child’s confidence, knowledge and skills in the beach environment. Not only will your child have fun and meet new friends, they will become part of an iconic organisation that has served the Australian community for over 100 years. Nippers is a fun way for children aged 5 to Under 14 to enjoy the beach in a safe environment. The Junior Development Program is designed to ensure children have fun at the beach while participating in lessons that will give them a pathway to becoming a fully rounded participant in both lifesaving and sport. Nippers includes the Junior Development Program which is designed to ensure children have fun at the beach, while participating in lessons that will provide them with a pathway to become a qualified surf lifesaver and a junior competitor (surf sport). Competition plays an important role in helping to strengthen and develop the skills of surf lifesavers.

Surf Life Saving Clubs create and tailor a program to suit the needs of their members and their beach conditions. The program will be focused on participation and enjoyment and will not just be built around competition. The goal is to increase the confidence and skill base of the nippers in the water and the sand. It might all be nice to teach your kids how to dog paddle in a 25m pool but consider that they will want to swim in the ocean and that we have 81 beaches along a 110 km coastline. What will you do? Enrol in a class to dog paddle 25m in a chlorinated pool or join a local surf club and learn how to read the ocean? Surf Life Saving does not provide specific learn to swim training or stroke correction. This is strongly encouraged to be taken up externally. There are some excellent private swim schools in the Eurobodalla and to the north in Shoalhaven. The main message is not to be taken in by the deals that are on offer but to look at what the child will learn. There are marketing deals a many at the moment to win your custom but ask yourself, "Who are they and what are they actually offering and will my child be safe in a creek or the surf?"

Some clubs may be better placed to assist with the provision of this coaching and links to these programs. However, your child will benefit enormously and increase their confidence through exposure to water-based activities including swimming and board paddling. Join a club: Batemans Bay SLSC Malua Bay Beach

  • Batemans Bay Surf Life Saving Club Malua Bay NSW 2536

  • www.batemansbaysurflifesavingclub.com

  • secretary@batemansbayslsc.org.au

Bermagui SLSC Horseshoe Bay Beach

  • Bermagui Surf Life Saving Club Bermagui NSW 2546

  • www.bermaguisls.org.au

  • bermisurfclub@gmail.com

Broulee Surfers SLSC Bengello Beach

  • Broulee Surf Club Broulee NSW 2537

  • brouleesurfersslsc.org.au

  • brosslsc@bigpond.net.au

Moruya SLSC Moruya Beach

  • Moruya Surf Club Moruya NSW 2537

  • moruyasurf.org.au

  • info@moruyasurf.org.au

Narooma SLSC Main Beach

  • Surfbeach Cafe Narooma Narooma NSW 2546

  • www.naroomasurfclub.org.au

  • naroomaslsc@gmail.com

Pambula SLSC Pambula Beach

  • Pambula Surf Life Saving Club Pambula NSW 2549

  • pambulasurf.org.au

  • secretary@pambulasurf.org.au

Tathra SLSC Tathra Beach

  • Tathra Surf Life Saving Club Tathra NSW 2550

  • tathrasurfclub.org.au

  • secretary@tathrasurfclub.org.au

The additional benefits of joining a group such as Nippers is the opportunity to give back to our community. Nippers are more than a place to learn surf knowledge - they are a family that nurtures. Be sure to consider Nippers and what skills you actually want your child to learn when they begin their swimming lessons. A still pool is one thing but the ocean is the place they will want to go.