13th June 2018
If your family’s looking forward to hitting the water these school holidays, the kids may like to get involved in the Airlie Beach Become a Reef Warrior program. Open to any child (who can swim comfortably) over the age of 8 years, the budding Reef Warriors are taught how to help preserve the reef, to snorkel safely and to keep their ocean and waterways clean and healthy.
Over the five-day program, the kids learn essential water safety theory (including resuscitation, reach rescue and ocean survival skills – like how to survive rips, tides and currents). They’ll also be taught how to correctly use snorkel gear and safely explore our coastal ecosystem. On the final afternoon, the kids will also help the environmental organisation Eco Barge in their efforts to clean up the beach.
According to Head Coach, Annike Grunwald, the program is an exciting, eye-opening experience for everyone involved.
"The reef is our future and we want to keep it our future and this is our future generation,” she said.
"If they want to carry on and become a Marine Biologist, then they have done the first step. They know how to snorkel and have an eye on the reef and they can actually learn how to report things as well.”
2016 Coastal Officer Olivia Brodhurst was also excited to inspire more young eco-champions into caring for environment.
“Kids are the environmental ambassadors of the future. They take these lessons with them throughout their lives,” she said.
Kids also get the chance hop aboard Thunderbird One, the economical vessel (powered by carbon-neutral oil) which patrols the local reef system. On completion of the week-long program, the new Reef Warriors earn a Water Smart Royal Life Saving Certificate endorsed by the Royal Life Saving Queensland and the Australian Marine Conservation Society.
The next Become a Reef Warrior program will run between July 9 and July 13 from the Airlie Beach Swim Centre.