The cancellation of swimming lessons over lockdown has potentially left many Wagga children underprepared to enter the water, resulting in a heightened focus on river safety this summer.
Mick Dasey, the regional manager of Royal Life Saving, said the recent lack of swimming lessons has been identified as a big concern and potential issue as Wagga heads into the warmer months.
"We hopefully won't see any incidents from it but we are understanding of the issue and it has been flagged by the organisation," Mr Dasey said.
"Our position is that for the next six to 12 months, the supervision of young kids in and around any aquatic environment is paramount."
IN OTHER NEWS:
He said the circumstances mean it is paramount for parents and guardians to go above and beyond in their supervision and care for their children when they are swimming in both pools and rivers.
"If your children can't get to the level they would like then you need to take that extra level of care over and above what your normally would," Mr Dasey said.
"Don't for one minute think that it might not happen, the statistics say that it does happen and we know that it does happen."
To help Wagga children and teenagers become more comfortable in the water, the popular Outback Lifesavers program is set to return to the city this summer.
Around 120 local children participated in the river safety program last year and Taileigh King, the aquatic supervisor at the Oasis Regional Aquatic Centre, said they are hoping to retain that amount this year.
The program will run for eight weeks starting from the end of January and will educate participants between the ages of eight and 13 on river safety.
"A lot of children are getting to that age where they are going out on the weekends with their friends to the river," Ms King said.
"So it is so important to be teaching them those skills and giving them the knowledge of what the risks are, what to avoid doing and what to do if they get into trouble ... especially in a river like ours where there has been drownings before."
As well as general safety, the course will also educate the children on throw rescues, wade rescues and other survival skills.
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content:
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.