Presented by Royal Life Saving Society – Australia, Cockburn ARC were one of six individuals and organisations recognised in the National Aquatic Industry Safety Awards for their significant contribution to aquatic safety within their community.
On Saturday 25 August, Cockburn ARC were awarded Excellence in Facility Management for their outstanding efforts in catering to the needs of their rapidly growing community.
When Cockburn ARC opened in May 2017, management predicted over 700,000 visitors within the first year of opening. They had almost double that figure. Staff had to quickly adapt to the huge volumes of people coming to the centre.
Rhiannon Keel, Operations Team Leader, Cockburn ARC said they’ve developed a strong internal culture based on two main values - 'Outstanding Customer Service That People Talk About' and 'More People, More Active, More Often'.
“We are constantly striving to do better through listening to our customers concerns and feedback and have been very adaptive since opening, leaving our preconceptions at the door. We have an outstanding team of dedicated lifeguards and pool operators, who have thrived in the face of adversity.”
“Aquatic safety has been our main aim through creating all of our procedures and training plans, with an emphasis on community education and engagement. We now have a strong culture of parental supervision within our centre, and we often see this being discussed on social media platforms where our clientele will support us and the Watch Around Water program,” said Rhiannon.
The awards are an initiative of the National Aquatic Industry Safety Committee to acknowledge the achievements of aquatic facilities and individuals towards improving health and safety outcomes.
Rhiannon said winning Excellence in Facility Management is a great achievement for all of the staff that have worked tirelessly since launching the Cockburn ARC.
“What we’ve confronted in our first 12 months was more than anyone could have foreseen, and it means the world to us that we’ve been able to establish such a solid foundation to move forward with for our community. This recognition from Royal Life Saving is validation of all of the sacrifice and hard work exhibited by all of our staff in this time and makes us feel like we’ve been able to accomplish something phenomenal,” said Rhiannon Keel, Operations Team Leader, Cockburn ARC.
Between 1 July 2005 and 30 June 2015, there were 293 drowning incidents in public and commercial pools across Australia. Thirty-six of these were fatal (12%).
Craig Roberts, National Manager Operations, Royal Life Saving Society – Australia said, “Drowning deaths and incidents at aquatic facilities are lower than other popular aquatic locations, however, we are continually working to reduce this to 0.”
“There are some great initiatives which are creating safer aquatic environments for children and adults across the country. The awards were established to recognise these efforts and inspire others to review and further develop their own health and safety policies and procedures.”
Highlight videos have been produced of each winner which were released on the Royal Life Saving Society – Australia Facebook page as part of the online media launch. The overall winners will be announced from the 27th August.
 Mahony, A, Peden, AE, Roberts, C, Barnsley, P (2018) A 10 year analysis of drowning in Aquatic Facilities: Exploring risk at Communal, Public and Commercial swimming pools, Royal Life Saving Society - Australia