Australia might teach beach safety to students after drownings

Sanskriti K C, attending college in Australia, doesn’t like the beach.

“I can’t even stand one minute alone,” she said. “The memories start haunting me.”

Sanskriti was swimming with two friends at Maroubra Beach when one got washed away.

Sanskriti was there when the body was recovered.

“You know the body when you saw her, you can see it’s like a sleeping beauty it feels like she’s sleeping and she’s going to wake,” she said.

The three girls, friends from landlocked Nepal, had never seen an ocean. They knew nothing of rip tides. They were oblivious to any danger.

There is plenty of danger, said Maroubra Beach lifeguard Keith Grima.

“If you slip into a rip or off the rocks it can take seconds and you’ve drowned,” he said.

Lifeguards at Maroubra Beach have started offering safety classes to incoming international students.

Some 42 swimmers drowned in New South Wales over Australia’s summer, December 2016 to February 2017.

This terrible tally might spark an organized response.

The New South Wales University might make its water safety programs mandatory for overseas students.

“We teach international students to swim in the pool, we give them free swimming lessons, we give them access to online videos about beach hazards such as rip currents,” explained Rob Brander, associate professor and surf scientist at the University of New South Wales.

Australia as a whole is considering a nationwide approach to training newcomers to swim safely.

Incoming students need to know that Australia’s beaches are beautiful but can be deadly.