LIFEGUARD at Gunnedah pool Cameron McFarlane has trained the next generation of little lifesavers.
Five major incidents in a short period of time where Mr McFarlane had to step in to provide CPR just bolstered his belief that the technique should be taught to primary school students statewide.
So, the NSW Primary School CPR Awareness Campaign was born, and on Thursday students at St Nicholas Primary School learned the simple skill.
"I've already had a student use this skill that they learned through the program in real life," Mr McFarlane said.
"If it saves one life the program has done its job."
Developed in 2011, the program targets Year 5 and 6 students and last year was implemented into Vietnamese schools where it is being taught to more than 850 children.
The ultimate goal is to make CPR lessons mandatory in the curriculum of all NSW primary schools.
Last year 249 people drowned in Australian waterways, 72 per cent of those were male, data from the Royal Life Saving Society shows.
New South Wales had the highest number of drowning deaths with 87 people losing their lives
Rivers, creeks and streams have the highest number of drowning deaths, which is why it's so important that children in rural and regional Australia learn the skill, Mr McFarlane said.
"CPR can and does save lives," he said.
"It's just teaching children how to do effective CPR, it gives them the knowledge of what to do followed by demonstrations on the mannequins with hands-on, practical work.
"Schools love it, I've had a few parents and child sessions where they learn together and it's especially important for those who live on rural or remote farms a long way from ambulances and hospitals."
The one hour lesson breaks CPR down in a way that's easier for kids to understand with practical exercises on the mannequins in CPR and recovery, and time for questions at the end.
A proposal to have the program put in the state school curriculum has been submitted with the backing of Royal Life Saving Australia.