Olympic legend Shane Gould has spent the past 15 years looking at what Australians do in the water and is alarmed at how few people actually swim given we see ourselves as a ‘nation of swimmers’. She has come to the conclusion that our swimming culture has evolved from a fundamental misunderstanding about what happens to people in the water. As a result around 280 people drown annually and thousands more get into difficulty. Swimming Outside The Flags takes audiences on a journey across the nation to challenge the myths around our relationship with water and so doing, save lives.
Development / Sue Maslin
Swimming Outside The Flags
Australians see themselves as a ‘nation of swimmers’. Annual drowning statistics tell a very different story.
DIRECTOR Sue Maslin
PRODUCER Charlotte Seymour
DURATION: 58 MINUTES
Support this project
A short summary of the issue the documentary is addressing
Australians consider themselves to be a ‘nation of swimmers’. The only trouble is, most of us don’t actually swim and the annual drowning statistics tell a different story.
IN THE LAST YEAR 291 PEOPLE DROWNED IN AUSTRALIA - This represents an increase of 10 deaths (or 4%) on the 10 year average of 281 drowning deaths.
THERE WAS AN ESTIMATED 685 NON FATAL DROWNINGS RESULTING IN HOSPITILISATION IN 2016/2017.
DROWNING OCCURS OUTSIDE THE SAFETY FLAGS -
- 23% in rivers, creeks and streams
- 17% in beaches
- 16% in the ocean or harbour
What is the impact vision statement of the documentary?
SWIMMING OUTSIDE THE FLAGS SETS TO RADICALLY CHANGE OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH WATER AND AS A RESULT, REDUCE DROWNING FATALITIES IN AUSTRALIA.
What outcomes does the project hope to achieve from making this documentary?
Swimming Outside The Flags sets to radically change our relationship with water and as a result, reduce drowning fatalities in Australia.
- Premier on a nationwide broadcasting network
- A minimum of ten community screenings
- Policy makers engaged in discussions directly relating to issues raised in film
- A high percentage of the audience accessing resources and support services via our website.
- Ambassadors speaking out surrounding the release of the film on core topics.
How will partnerships with this project help inform the project development?
Yes, Shane and I have relationships with Australian Water Safety Council, Royal Life Saving Society of Australia, Swimming Australia; Surf Life Saving Society to name a few. We would utilise these stakeholders interested in water safety to ensure the issue is widely reported on radio, television, social media and written press.
Audience Engagement and Social Impact
What actions does this project hope for its viewers after seeing this film?
The aim is to encourage people to better understand both the pleasure and the danger of water. We will highlight the gap between people’s perceptions of their own water and swimming competencies and the reality of the situations in which they immerse themselves. As a result we will see greater desire from individuals to build their water skills and to encourage those around them to do the same.
There will be an increase in people of all ages participating in learn to swim programs and feeling safer in the water. People will start to feel safer and more confident, allowing them to experience the joy of being in the water.
Policy change that will see more diverse and government-funded learn to swim programs, available to all children and new migrants.
Policy that will make learn to swim programs compulsory for all school children in Australia.
Measurement and Evaluation
What is the projects indicators for success?
- A reduction in the amount of drownings throughout Australia annually
- Achieving legislation that will ensure that learn to swim programs be compulsory for all pre-school and school aged children in all states and territories
- A significant improvement in the number of individuals voluntarily signing up to learn to swim programs
- Empowering new migrants with an understanding of Australia's waterways and the risks involved in water sports
- Children will be taught the skills to swim in all environments, not just within a structured pool setting
- Instructional films will be available for international passengers of major airlines arriving into Australia
- Education resources will be included in the maternal health program as a guide for parents of young children
- Screening and information sessions will be integrated into local programs for new migrants to Australia
- Policy change will result in compulsory swimming lessons for migrants in all states