Don’t drink grog and drown ef­fort

Pilbara News - - News - Ali­cia Perera

The high­est num­ber of an­nual drown­ings in the Pil­bara in a decade has prompted the Royal Life Sav­ing Society WA to visit the re­gion, pro­mot­ing bet­ter wa­ter safety.

Seven peo­ple drowned in the Pil­bara last year, the most in the re­gion in the last 10 years as well as for any part of re­gional WA, where peo­ple are 2.1 times more likely to drown com­pared to the metropoli­tan area.

In re­sponse, Royal Life Sav­ing rep­re­sen­ta­tives will visit Kar­ratha, Roe­bourne, Wick­ham, Onslow, Tom Price, Parabur­doo, Port Hed­land and New­man over 11 days un­til March 23 to pro­mote free ed­u­ca­tional ses­sions tar­geted at the high­est risk groups of chil­dren aged un­der five and young peo­ple aged 15-24.

The group has de­vel­oped an an­tial­co­hol ini­tia­tive called Don’t Drink Grog and Drown specif­i­cally for the Pil­bara to ad­dress high rates of al­co­hol-re­lated drown­ings in the re­gion. Royal Life Sav­ing Don’t Drink and Drown co-or­di­na­tor El­iza Mitchell said the num­ber of drown­ings were “alarm­ing”.

“Too many young peo­ple are still tak­ing un­nec­es­sary risks by drink­ing al­co­hol while in, on or around the wa­ter, plac­ing them­selves and their friends at a much greater risk of drown­ing,” she said.

“These risks are height­ened in ar­eas like the Pil­bara, which is home to kilo­me­tres of coast­line and in­land wa­ter­ways that can of­ten be iso­lated and un­pre­dictable.”

Drown­ings while boat­ing or in rivers were of con­cern to the group. North West Wa­ter Po­lice re­gional op­er­a­tions man­ager Sergeant Scott Gil­lis said the ma­jor­ity of skip­pers they saw were pay­ing at­ten­tion to wa­ter safety mes­sages and car­ry­ing right equip­ment.

How­ever Sgt Gil­lis said there was “al­ways room for im­prove­ment”, with ex­pired flares and un­reg­is­tered EPIRBs re­peat prob­lems. For more in­for­ma­tion, go to life­sav­ingwa.com.au.

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