Thursday, February 29, 2024

Bondi Rescue star floats water safety message

Bondi Rescue star, Bruce ‘Hoppo’ Hopkins, has joined forces with Blacktown City Council to promote the message of ‘Float to Survive’ to the local community this summer.

The initiative raises awareness for floating as a safety action for those who find themselves in distress in any aquatic environment, whether it be the beach, swimming pool, lake or creek.

The face and driving force of ‘Float to Survive’, Mr Hopkins has more than 30 years’ experience performing lifesaving rescues at Bondi. He advocates that “floating conserves energy and gives a greater chance of survival in any aquatic environment.” 

Blacktown Mayor, Tony Bleasdale OAM praised the ‘Float to Survive’ initiative.

“Blacktown is a proud culturally and linguistically diverse city, with over 180 languages spoken. For us, the importance of a simple, yet clear water safety message for all aquatic environments for our community is huge,” he said.

“One-in-four drownings in Australia involve people born overseas. Many of these people come from the culturally and linguistically diverse communities of western Sydney and will visit many aquatic environments this summer.”

‘Float to survive’ commenced following a Multicultural Water Safety Forum held in 2019, where communities agreed that existing water safety messages were complex for culturally and linguistically diverse communities to comprehend and that messages were not relevant to all aquatic environments.

Blacktown Mayor, Tony Bleasdale and Waverley Mayor, Paula Masselos with Bondi Rescue’s Hoppo.

Mr Hopkins drew inspiration from the academic work of Professor Mike Tipton and trialled the messaging near Sydney’s eastern suburbs beaches – in the areas of Randwick City Council and Waverley Council in the summer of 2022/2023.

Research conducted post after the campaign revealed that over 90% of respondents thought the message was easy to understand and 86.3% thought the message should be promoted more widely throughout Australia.

Waverley Mayor, Paula Masselos said Float to Survive has the potential to reach tens of millions of households across Australia, including those with backyard pools, or who live near rivers or lakes.

“As custodians of one of the world’s most famous beaches, we feel it is our responsibility to have a strong educational presence when it comes to keeping people safe in and around the water, including the millions of people who visit Bondi Beach each year from overseas and across Greater Sydney,” Mayor Masselos said.

The Mayor of Randwick, Philip Veitch said, “The more we promote ‘Float to Survive’ in us communities, the more equipped people will be, if they get into trouble when in the water.” Blacktown City Council joins Randwick City Council and Waverley Council in promoting the water safety message. ‘Float to survive’ will be promoted throughout all Blacktown’s aquatic and leisure facilities this summer.

“We applaud Blacktown City Council for joining Waverley and Randwick City councils on our mission to reduce the number of drownings in Australia by promoting the “Float to Survive” message among its diverse communities,” Mayor Masselos added.

“Our hope is that this simple, clear message will be top of mind for anyone who finds themselves at the beach, river or any body of water this summer. Education and engagement with our culturally and linguistically diverse communities is paramount and it’s exciting to have Blacktown Council join the campaign to ensure everyone has a safe summer,” said Mayor Veitch.

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