An international student drowned on the south coast of New South Wales on Christmas Day.

The 46 year old Korean students was snorkeling with with family and friends at Lake Conjola, south of Sydney.

They raised the alarm when he did not return when expected.  His body was pulled from the water shortly before 3pm by family and bystanders.

Emergency services arrived and tried to revive him but he was declared dead at the scene.

It is an awful tragedy. Another international student drowned in the waters of Australia’s beaches.

It happens much too often.

In October an Indian international student drowned at another popular beach south of Sydney

And on Christmas Day 2017 another Indian international student, 22-year-old Ravneet Singh Gill, died after being caught in rough surf at Duranbah Beach on the far north cost of New South Wales.

Australian governments and institutions are trying to address the issue

A partnership between Study NSW and Surf Life Saving NSW has recruited a group of international students as Beach Safety Advisors. The idea is that international students arriving at Sydney International Airport for the first time will get advice on surf safety from their student peers as soon as they touch down.

Surf Life Saving NSW CEO Steven Pearce said:

We have an active program targeting international students which will be further enhanced thanks to the Study NSW Beach Safety Advisors initiative.

The Beach Safety Advisors are coached on communication and swim safety including the ‘Seven Summer Safety Tips’ of swim between the flags, read safety signs, never swim under the influence, if you need help raise your arm, swim with a  friend, be sun safe, and dial 000 Police in an emergency.

Surf Life Saving Australia also offers a Beachsafe App, which provides information on every Australian beach, including patrol status, facilities and hazards to weather, swell and tide.

Many universities are also taking action with beach and water safety information and programs targeted at international students. For example:

Education Agents can help to save lives.

Education agents can help to prevent further tragic deaths.

The more new international students hear the message about surf safety, the better the chance they will know how to stay safe when they are at the beach.

As an education agent you can make sure that your students have important safety messages before they even leave home.

Here are some simple things you can do to support the safety of the students you are working with:

  • Make sure students understand the main message from Click Surf Life Saving Australia: If we can’t see you, we can’t save you: always swim at a patrolled beach, and always swim between the red and yellow flags.
  • Give your students this link from Surf Life Saving Australia with other water safety measures.
  • Make sure your students have the Beachsafe App on their phone.
  • Find out if the university or college that the students is going to study at has a beach or water safety program for international students. If it does, urge your student to participate in it.

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