My name is Louise Lambeth, I am a surf lifesaver at Ocean Beach on the NSW Central Coast of Australia.
My story as a children’s book author began after a terrible tragedy, where my club was called out to do a search for a young boy swept from a nearby beach. This sadly became a search and recovery. Seeing the emotional effect this tragedy had on the family, the community and my club members made me begin to wonder, ‘How could this tragedy have been prevented? Is there ways we can help children learn how to be safe at the beach and what to do if they need help?’
This was the catalyst to make me think beyond the traditional surf education pathways and have my first drowning prevention book, Annie and the Waves published. Annie has been reviewed and endorsed by Surf Life Saving Australia.
My second water safety book, Rohit at the River, was grant funded by Central Coast Council. This book explores the importance of learning water safety skills and the dangers around inland waterways such as rivers, creeks and dams. This book has been created under the guidance of Royal Life Saving Society – Australia, AUSTSWIM and Life Saving Victoria.
My third book Tight Lines, a middle grade fishing safety chapter book was published in December 2023. This book has been funded by Surf Life Saving NSW and reviewed by the Surf Life Saving Australia. Its a fun book about learning to fish but has so so much more!
So why are these books so important?
Drowning is preventable, yet people still drown!
Drowning is the third largest cause of accidental death worldwide. The 2023 Royal Life Saving Drowning Report records that 281 people drowned across Australia but this is not the whole story… Every year approximately twice as many people will experience non-fatal drowning that can lead to lifelong medical complications. Around 42% of these will be children!
The World Health Organisation has identified education as a major drowning prevention intervention. With barriers to people accessing water safety education programs my books help to add an additional layer of water safety education. These books help to bring water safety education into the home, school or early learning centre. They help significant people in a child’s life to have conversations on how to be safe around water and what to do if they need help.
Together we can help ‘turn the tide on drowning’!