Don’t drink grog and drown effort
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.