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Summer Fun


DEEP has had a strong working relationship with the Royal Life Saving Society of Western Australia (RLSSWA) since 2012. We use mixed-methods realist evaluation to determine if RLSSWA's programs have particular impact on knowledge, awareness, attitudes, intention, and behaviour change on the target groups of each program outlined below. Since 2012, we have produced a number of technical reports, conference presentations, evidence summaries, research projects and peer-reviewed journal articles to inform program development of these programs, and the research agenda for drowning prevention and water safety more broadly.


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The issue: Drowning is one of the leading causes of of preventable deaths in children under five years old, and many children are hospitalised due to preventable non-fatal drowning incidents in Australia. 

Target audience: Parents and carers of children aged five years and younger are the primary target audience. The secondary target audience are professionals in the child care, healthcare, and injury prevention industry living in WA.

Project summary: The Keep Watch Program is a well-established drowning prevention program, having been a fixture in the Western Australian public health landscape for over two decades. We use both quantitative and qualitative research methods to evaluate the effectiveness of Keep Watch program, including surveying the target audience to evaluate Keep Watch mass media campaigns, and interviewing stakeholders in the secondary target audience involved in RLSSWA's service delivery of Keep Watch programs. Additionally, DEEP helps RLSSWA evaluate the Keep Watch Parent Ambassador Program, a multi-faceted approach to prevent child and toddler drowning.

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The issue: Young people aged 15-24 are at increased risk of drowning, posing a significant public health issue. Young people are more likely to engage in risk taking behaviour around water, heightened by alcohol consumption and social factors such as peer pressure.

Target audience: Young people aged 15-24 years living in WA.

Project summary: The Be a Mermate campaign sits under RLSSWA's Youth Water Safety Project and encourages young people to look out for their friends around water. The campaign runs on streaming services and social media channels throughout the summer period. The campaign is evaluated on the knowledge, attitudes, beliefs, and intentions regarding water safety while consuming alcohol, using a mixed-methods approach. Importantly, our evaluation also assesses the target audience's awareness, comprehension, and acceptance of the campaign advertising.


The issue: Deaths amongst people aged 45 years and over account for over half of all drowning deaths in WA. Older adults increasingly participate in aquatic activities and relocate closer to aquatic environments during retirement. A range of factors influence the risk of drowning in adults including swimming capability, medical conditions, medications and alcohol use.

Target audience: Adults aged 45 and over, residing in WA.

Project summary: Part of the Adult Water Safety Program, the Make the Right Call campaign aims to increase awareness and knowledge of water safety amongst the target audience (particularly alcohol-related drowning and the impact of pre-existing medical conditions). The DEEP team uses a mixed-methods approach to evaluate the media campaign, which employs traditional print media such as radio advertising, posters, as well as TV advertising.

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