Drownings Spark Calls for Swim-Lesson Mandate in Australia

A spate of drownings prompts calls for mandatory swimming lessons in Australia.

Eighteen such deaths have been reported in the Australian state of New South Wales since the Christmas holiday.

Local authorities say it's "unprecedented" to have so many drownings in such a short period of time.

These drownings do no discriminate: victims range from toddlers to senior citizens.

Waters range from busy beaches to private pools.

New South Wales Emergency Services Minister David Elliott, this week, pleaded with the public to take responsibility for their own safety.

The rash of drownings has led some to advocate for new public policy.

Leisa Hart, who leads the New South Wales YMCA wrote a commentary in The Sydney Morning Herald on Jan.

3, which calls for a national program to facilitate mandatory swimming and water safety lessons.

She writes, "All Australian kids.

deserve the skills to survive.

" For NewsBeat Social, I'm Matt Paul.

Source: Youtube