THE formation of a body is needed to promote water safety practices through effective lifesaving, first aid education and training to lower the rate of drowning in the country.
Considering the countryâ€™s staggering drowning toll of around 48 people every year, the Fiji Surfing Association believes a body like Surf Life Saving Australia is needed in Fiji.
While the Fiji Water Safety Council has been established, the FSA believes that a body like the SLSA is needed to lower the rate of drowning.
FSA president John Philp and Fiji Police Force trainer Assistant Superintendent Bronwyn Soko are the driving force behind the creation of the FWSC.
ASP Soko and FSA surfing and surf life saving education officer Cassandra Thomas are working together. Ms Thomas said they were working to establish programs for water safety, first aid and life saving training systems, programs and resources to support the building of a new identity for the FSA as the leader in water safety.
â€œThese programs for the FSA are developed and modified from the SLSA model to suit Fijian culture and environmental conditions,â€ she said.
â€œThe aim is to build greater knowledge and understanding about Fijian waterways and inevitably provide safer communities by reducing coastal drowning within the communities of the Fiji islands.â€
Ms Thomas said SLSA had sent over two trainers to help facilitate the training and offer new courses in Fiji such as the International Rescue Water Craft Certificate.
Scott McCartney, a trainer, said they conducted training with a company Adrenalin Fiji, and resorts Namotu Island and Tavarua Island.
â€œWe had 30 participants with 11 fully completing their International Rescue Water Craft Certificate with the others participating in ongoing training,â€ he said. â€œFijians are excellent in the water but more emphasis is needed in swimming technique and survival,â€ said Mr McCartney.
Ms Thomas said while the emphasis of training was on those who work in the field, they hoped to see a transfer of skills so that water safety culture in Fiji was increased.