This year the 17th Annual LIWA Aquatics Seminar retuned to Exmouth and it proved to be a great venue once again.  The Board of LIWA Aquatics strives to find an affordable location that can attract the maximum number of delegates.  Whilst the numbers were slightly down on last year those who did attend enjoyed the location and the variety of presentations throughout the day.

As far as venues go the Exmouth Yacht Club would rate as one of the best possible positions on the west coast with ocean views and clear blue skies it set the tone for a great day.  The event was opened by Bill Price the CEO of the Shire of Exmouth and most appropriately Bill was regaled in his finest Hawaiian shirt for free dress Friday. The Shire has ambitious plans for its facilities over the next 3 - 5 years with the construction of a spray park already underway and a proposed redevelopment of the aquatic centre planned as well.  Bill was able to provide some information on the scale of the plans and the development that is transforming the community.

The first session of the day was delivered by Wayne Blennerhasset a Community Social Worker with many years experience in working with children at risk. Wayne's session had the group working from the start and focused in on the importance of role models in children's lives.  He had all the delegates considering their own role models as children, what attributes they had and what they had contributed to their lives in the long term.  The focus of the session was to promote the good attributes of a role model as in some cases the local pool can be a safe haven for many children at risk.  Being a good listener, not being judgemental and through your own actions demonstrating a caring attitude can often be enough to assist young people through difficult times.  This interactive session was a great way to begin the day and had the delegates involved from the start.

The second session was delivered by Llew Withers and provided a review of the actions required to be taken if an outbreak of cryptosporidium is recorded and the local pool identified as the source.  The presentation focused on the problems experienced at the Broome Recreation and Aquatic Centre late last year and how the pool was able to deal with issue.  Llew was very quick to praise the staff at the Shire and the facility for the way the pool was remediated and the follow up installation of a UV system.  He was also effusive in his commendation of the work LIWA Aquatics had done in developing a workable guideline for dealing with faecal contamination in the aquatic environment.  The presentation took the delegates through the process from start to finish and everyone left with a much better understanding of dealing with the problem should it arise in their community.  The presentation is available on-line from


Llew Withers

After a morning tea of scones with jam and cream in the beautiful North West sunshine the delegates were back into the Yacht Club for a second session by Llew Withers.  Llew focused on requirements and operation of Spray Parks.  The presentation included some of the problem areas to be aware of and highlighted issues of design and management.

Following on from Llew the delegates were updated on the new industry program, Pool Super VisionTM and how it is going to be rolled out to the industry.  LIWA Aquatics has worked very closely with Gary Johnson and has recently Trade Marked PSV to protect its intellectual property.  Pool Super VisionTM is a key component that links Watch Around Water to ensuring our lifeguards are better equipped to understand the barriers to supervision on the pool deck.  The importance of understanding how "Dead Water" is recognised and then effectively supervise the pool is of vital importance to patron safety.  Pool Super VisionTM will now become a cornerstone in LIWA Aquatics goal to keep Western Australian Aquatic facilities the safest in Australia.  It will also ensure that our young lifeguards have the best possible skills to deal with external issues that can affect their ability to supervise the pool.

Chris Blankley then ran a workshop to determine how managers were dealing with the vexed issue of parent/supervisor attending the pool with excessive numbers of children.  The discussion was wide ranging about how you deal with someone who attends with 2 under fives and 3 under tens and their capacity to effectively keep them all at arms reach as well as in sight.  Chris will provide further information which the Board of LIWA Aquatics will review with our partners in the delivery of Watch Around Water Royal Life Saving.  Once this is completed the information will be promoted to the industry.

Lunch was provided by "Whalers" and the chef Paul did not disappoint with a great array of beautiful food served on the balcony of the Yacht Club.  This time is a great opportunity for the delegates to catch up with the corporate supporters and the other delegates attending.  The maintaining of the LIWA Aquatics network is one of the key outcomes of these professional development days and it was great to see everyone get on so well.

Chris and Josh

After lunch Chris was back to discuss the best possible ways of dispute or problem resolution in the workplace.  We have all had to deal with complaints from time to time and Chris discussed some options of how to diffuse the emotion that you may feel when you are on the end of either a verbal or written complaint.  The session was very interactive with delegates discussing some of their own issues and the way they had been resolved.

The next session was prepared by Lauren Nimmo our Watch Around Water program manager.  The most salient point of the presentation was that there has not been a drowning in a public swimming pool in Western Australian for 10 years.  This just happens to coincide with how long the program has been in place!  Some of the highlights of WAW in the past year have been:

  • 102 registrations (85% of all WA Pools)
  • 284 registrations nationally (WA, NSW, SA and VIC)
  • "Your Mob Your Job" resources launched
  • Facebook presence
  • 29 event promotions with Walter the Watch Dog
  • 18 pools used the new WAW inflatable
  • 80,000 resources distributed to registered centres
  • 88% if WAW pools participated in feedback surveys

Complacency can be a problem when a program has been in place for some time but the feedback received was very positive with some great ideas to keep the program fresh and relevant.  Look out for some more positive Watch Around Water initiatives for the 2013/14 season.

The last presentation of the day was by Trent Hotchkin the Manager of the Swim and Survive Department of Royal Life Saving.  Trent promoted the success of the "Swim for Fruit Program" that had been running in the remote community pools.  The objectives of the program are to:

  • Primarily increase physical activity levels via school, after school and weekend swimming programs
  • Support healthy eating through a reward/incentive system
  • Targeting Aboriginal youth and adolescent (5-15 year olds)
  • Target at risk regional/remote communities

Trent was able to inform delegates that RLSSWA had secured funding from both Heathway and BHP Billiton to extend the program in the North West and this year 10 facilities participated in the program

The funding includes up to $4000 per facility to be used for instructors, resources and equipment, training and professional development and community or presentation days.  Contact Trent at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for further details of this exciting initiative.

group shot

Group Shot of North West Crew

The final session of the day is one that everyone enjoys participating in and provides an opportunity to discuss the past season and plans for the future with all the mangers in the room.  Chris completed the wrap up and thanked all the sponsors that attended or provided tangible support for the seminar.  These included:

  • Josh Koontz and the Shire of Exmouth
  • Royal Life Saving Society for its ongoing support of LIWA Aquatics
  • Sigma Chemicals for a great show bag for the delegates and drinks sponsorship at the annual dinner
  • John Shenton for dinner sponsorship
  • The Department of Sport and Recreation for its ongoing support of LIWA Aquatics
  • Miracle Recreation
  • Malcolm Thompson Pumps


ray and jen

Ray and Jen enjoing a night out!

With the formal side of the day over the delegates met again at 7pm at Pinocchio's Restaurant for a beautiful meal and a few drinks in the beer garden.  The night provided a great opportunity to get to know people better and discuss relevant issues in a very agreeable setting.  The night was tempered for many of the delegates as they were due to get up early to complete their Pool Lifeguard requalification at a chilly Exmouth Pool.

usual suspects

Ready for chilly requalification

As with all events such as this they don't just happen and a great deal of thanks must go to Chris Blankley, Karin Kelly and John East for their continued involvement in this institutional event.

Tony Head

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Contact LIWA

We provide support, professional development and networking opportunities for individuals in the aquatic industry throughout Western Australia.

  1. PO Box 726, Hillarys, WA 6923
  2. (08) 9383 8238
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