Sunny Exmouth lived up to all expectations as the host of the 20th LIWA Aquatics North West Seminar. It was also very appropriate that three LIWA Aquatics stalwarts who ensured this event initially got traction 20 years ago were in attendance this year. Karin Kelly, Geoff Heaton and Peter Leaversuch have a great deal of history invested in these events and it is a testament to their passion for the industry that they were in Exmouth to celebrate 20 years of LIWA Aquatics history in the North West.


The Board of LIWA Aquatics takes great pride in its ability to take professional development to the regions and this annual event is one that stands out each year on the calendar. Like the City of Karratha last year the Shire of Exmouth went out of their way to offer all assistance possible to ensure the success of the event in 2016. Josh Koontz and his team at the aquatic centre are a credit to the community and their professionalism reflects very well on our industry.
The seminar really started on the Thursday for many of the delegates when they attended the Pool Lifeguard Requalification conducted by Steve Good and Chris Blankley. RLSSWA has long supported this event and travel vast distances in the North West to ensure we have qualified staff on the pool deck at all times. This year Steve and Chris introduced the newly revised system of spinal strapping and extraction and also showcased that the requalification will take on a more workshop focus in the future. This has come about due to the fact that RLSSWA will no longer be issuing Units of Competence after each requalification. This will see trainers focus on the critical must sees but also allow for greater flexibility within the program. This will ensure the pool lifeguard course remains relevant and deals with emerging issues and trends.


The Friday morning was a beautiful day in Exmouth and the seminar was opened by the Shire of Exmouth CEO Bill Price who welcomed the delegates, praised his aquatic team (so he should) and updated the room on the developments in the community. This included the $30 million Ningaloo Centre which will generate economic growth for Exmouth and allow for rationalisation of existing out dated buildings within the community. It is expected to create an iconic entry statement for the town and will collectively deliver economic and cultural benefits to the community, visitors, researchers and educators. Bill also indicated that there is a critical role for Josh in looking after the 200,000 litre aquarium!

After the official opening the delegates had a leisurely walk up to see both the new Water Spray Park and some of the minor works that had been undertaken in the pool area. The area around the spray park has transformed the park into beautiful area that attracts visitors year round who enjoy the shaded areas and the cooling mist from the park itself. In the pool area Josh had put the R4R Funding to good use and had new chlorine scales, alarm and regulators as well as a new VSD Controller for the main pool pump. It looks as though a complete refurbishment of the pool is still some way off but the presentation of the venue is still to the highest possible standards and is a true reflection of the team and the Shire. Those undertaking the Pool Lifeguard Requalification were also very pleasantly surprised by a water temperature of 26C, what a difference the blankets make!

I will stand corrected but in the 20 year history of the event I doubt that the catering has ever reached the standard provided by Ian and the crew at Figjam Catering. Morning tea was a treat but lunch was just amazing and put all the delegates in very good spirits.


The first presentation after morning tea was delivered by Llew Withers Manager, Applied & Major Events at Water Heath and focused on the changes to the updated 2015 Code of Practice. There are a number of administrative changes including the definition for a small pool that has come about through a number of almost pop up learn to swim pools. The classification in Section 2 removes the burden to provide sanitary facilities to Code specifications in light of their very low patronage numbers. Llew also focused on the importance of VDS installations going through the proper approval and being verified to ensure compliance against flow rates in Table 4 of the Code.

Another update focused on the changing of the levels of cyanuric acid from 30 – 50mgls to 20 -100mgls in the Code due to industry consultation and scientific evidence. Llew also drew delegate's attention to the removal of Thermophilic Amoeba and Acanthamoeba tests from regular water sampling.

This was the last time Llew will be involved in industry presentations as he is retiring from the Health Department on the 30th of June and he will be sadly missed by our industry. He was a voice at the end of the phone you could trust and he gave advice freely and was warmly embraced by LIWA Aquatics members across the state. Llew is a great supporter of the LIWA Aquatics and has travelled widely to present at seminars and conferences across the state and the country. We wish him luck for the future but I am sure he will be around to assist in the future in a different capacity.
The full presentation and the updated Code are available for download from the LIWA Aquatics Website


The second presentation was delivered by Peter Leaversuch who updated the delegates on the latest industry research paper with a focus on the North West of the State. The research highlights key indicators such as visitations, water usage in the regions, qualified personnel as well as injury data and safety assessment recommendations. Peter also focused on some of the outcomes delivered by RLSSWA in its outreach work and asked delegates to be aware of this role and if they are aware of people who need assistance as a result of a drowning or a non-fatal event to contact RLSSWA.
Peter was also on hand to present several awards to RLSSWA staff including Jacqui Forbes for her five years of service to the organisation and to Aaron Jacobs who is leaving the RASP Program after 7 years and returning to Donnybrook. RLSSWA also took the opportunity to present a Special Service Award to Josh Koontz for his contribution to the community and Royal Life Saving over many years.

Prior to lunch Chris coordinated a workshop that saw the delegates break into small groups to discuss the ways in which one-operator facilities deal with an emergency at their pool. There was a great discussion throughout the room and it was obvious that there is work to be done in this area as Chris worked through the Groups and their considerations during the breakout. One thing was very clear was the need for each pool to carefully consider a range of communication methods to raise an alarm if there is a serious incident at their facility. LIWA Aquatics will continue to work on this issue and provide guidance and information to members on this issue.


As I indicated earlier lunch in the sunshine at Exmouth was a delight with beautiful food and great networking opportunities for delegates and the members of the corporate sector that attended. These types of informal sessions add a great deal of value to LIWA Aquatics Seminars and provide contacts and invaluable information.

After lunch Chris introduced all the corporate supporters who attended the event and they were able to say a few words to delegates regarding their services and the equipment they provide to the aquatic industry. LIWA Aquatics is very grateful for their attendance at this event and would like to recognise:
• Chadson Engineering
• Royal Life Saving
• Commercial Aquatics Australia
• Sigma Chemicals
• Complete Aquatic Services
• Austral Pools
• Trisley Hydraulic Services
• Dynamic Playgrounds
• PS Plus

First up after lunch I did a presentation that focused on the importance of maintaining supervision standards as we approach 13 years without a drowning death recorded in Western Australian Pools. There have been a number of drownings and near drownings on the East Coast in recent months and these tragedies must further strengthen our resolve to ensure that we consider every patron a family member. I started my presentation by playing a highly emotive video that showed the angst and the devastation of families that have suffered through the death or non-fatal injuries of children through drowning events. To view this amazing video, follow this link:

The presentation then looked at how the Western Australia Aquatic Industry had driven change in the past 13 years and maintained the momentum to ensure safer venues. Since the last drowning in 2004 there have been over 130 million visitations to public pools in Western Australia success has been a built on a multi-tiered approach consisting of:

• Continuation of competency and industry based on deck training for Lifeguards
• A rigorous safety audit process of WA Aquatic Facilities by RLSSWA that provides bench making opportunities for continuous improvement
• Regular industry engagement through professional development
• High standards of supervision in our pools - Vigilance not Complacence
• Understanding what environmental factors produce Dead Water in our pools
• We empower our staff to make the right decisions though training and development
• We intervene prior to an issue arising and we record these interventions

The above are built on 4 Pillars that underpin the industry in Western Australia, these are:

• Watch Around Water
• Pool Super Vision
• Royal Life Saving
• LIWA Aquatics

These Pillars bind the industry together and it ensures the load is evenly spread through empowering our members in their facilities to provide safe well maintained venues across Western Australia.

Trent Hotchkin from RLSSWA then updated the delegates on a range of opportunities provided through the Junior Lifeguard Club and the pathway to participation for Bronze Medallion and then onto Lifeguard. RLSSWA has great resources and is able to assist all North West Pools to engage and encourage participation in Lifesaving as a sport and recreation outlet. It could prove to be one way to have a steady supply of Lifeguards in your community.

The final presentation of the day was from Steve Good who provided a informative update on the changes to industry training including the Pool Lifeguard requalification, spinal management which included the discontinued use of semi-rigid collars, ARC Guidelines and e-Learning. The core components will include more realistic scenarios that will ensure the course retains relevance while assessing the candidate's competency.

A number of key changes were also presented to the group:

Basic Life Support (BLS)
• CPR Compression rates - Now 100 to 120 (REVISED)
Trauma Emergencies
• No longer raise legs when treating patient for Shock (NEW)
• No elevation when treating for Bleeding (REVISED)
• Use of Haemostatic dressing (REVISED)
• Use of Tourniquets can be done as last resort. (REVISED)
Medical Emergencies
• Use of second dose of adrenaline (EPIPEN) for anaphylaxis is now recommended (REVISED)
e-Learning Progress
• RLSSWA new website
• Development next 6 – 12 months
• More User Friendly
• More compatibility (Smart Phones, PC, Laptops, Tablets)

The final word was left to Chris Blankley who quizzed all the delegates about the past season and future plans. It is always a fun session and highlights the passion our members have and how much they put back into their communities. Chris then thanked everyone for attending especially Josh and the Shire of Esperance for their assistance and invited everyone to catch up later that night at the Potshot Hotel for the LIWA Aquatics North West Seminar Dinner.




Next year the seminar will be heading further north to Broome and there will be more details early in the New Year once dates have been finalised.

Business & Trade Members are entitled to display a banner here for only $100pa - Contact us

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
  3. Email using this form

Latest Tweets