In the wake of a drowning death at Fairy Meadow, Illawarra lifesavers are heading off on a road trip to bring beach and water safety lessons to country kids.
During the beach and inland water safety sessions, more than 2100 students will learn how to spot a rip, the importance of swimming between the red and yellow flags, first aid, rescues, sea creatures and how to get help.
The Illawarra lifesavers are visiting schools in the New England and Western Riverina regions.
Being a surf lifesaver can bring a lot of heartache Ms Percy said. She was among those who conducted an extensive three-day search for a missing swimmer off Fairy Meadow Beach last week.
The 28-year-old international student from the University of Wollongong was swimming on Sunday, October 29 when he got stuck in a rip. He was last seen waving his hand and calling for help.
Ms Percy is keen to give students skills for life, that could one day save their life.
"I love teaching children or adults about surf education, just educating them in general how to be safe in the water," she said.
"They may come down and travel, they may come down and study on the coast, but at least they have that underpinning knowledge of how to be safe."
Educating children also helps keep their family safe.
"We start at this age group because they'll go home and remind parents 'we need to do this'," she said.
"It's just to pretty much educate and reduce the drowning rates."
During the 2022-23 financial year 281 people died by drowning.
Beach to Bush is in its 30th year and during that time more than 285,000 regional and rural students have learned how to stay safe at the beach and at inland waterways such as rivers, dams and pools.
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