Many migrants have not seen the ocean or learnt to swim before arriving in Australia and that lack of water safety awareness has led to migrant groups being over-represented in WA drowning statistics.
The Royal Life Saving Society WA has a campaign to prevent drownings among culturally and linguistically diverse groups.
People from such groups accounted for 35 per cent of the 150 drownings in WA over the past five years. RLSS swimming and water safety education senior manager Trent Hotchkin said people growing up in WA had opportunities to learn swimming and water safety that many migrants did not.
Some came from landlocked countries and had never seen the ocean before arriving.
The RLSS is trying to encourage more migrants to learn swimming, water safety and basic rescue skills and a $30,000 grant from the Office of Multicultural Interests has helped it hold classes that are culturally aware and cost-effective.
Yuli Santoso did not learn to swim until she was in high school in Indonesia.
She said she could swim but joined the Perth classes to improve her confidence and ensure she could keep her children safe in the water. Her nine-year-old son is also having lessons.
Mrs Yuli, a Muslim, encouraged other migrants to take lessons and said it had been good to take classes that had only women.
RLSSWA also has special swimming programs for migrant teenagers.