Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - Opinion -

AL­MOST 1000 peo­ple have drowned in a river, creek or stream in the past 13 years. This makes rivers the lead­ing lo­ca­tion for drown­ing in Aus­tralia.

All types of peo­ple are drown­ing in rivers, from the young chil­dren to the el­derly. What is most alarm­ing is that al­most three-quar­ters of peo­ple who drowned in rivers were close to their home and most were male.

So why are so many drown­ing in our lo­cal rivers?

The flat, still sur­face of a river gives a false sense of se­cu­rity. You can­not see ice-cold wa­ter, snags such as tree branches or strong cur­rents but they can be lethal.

Dan­ger­ous ac­tiv­i­ties such as con­sum­ing al­co­hol, driv­ing through flood­wa­ters and not wear­ing a life­jacket are also adding to the alarm­ing fig­ures.

To lose a loved one so close to home when the death could have been pre­vented is heart­break­ing.

Peo­ple need to act re­spon­si­bly around rivers and avoid any be­hav­iour that may in­crease the risk of drown­ing.

Royal Life Saving So­ci­ety - Aus­tralia has launched a cam­paign to save lives on rivers and is ask­ing peo­ple when en­joy­ing our rivers to al­ways wear a life­jacket, avoid al­co­hol around wa­ter, never swim alone and learn life­sav­ing skills. It is sim­ple, re­spect the river. To get more safety in­for­ma­tion read­ers can go to www.roy­al­life­sav­ re­spect­theriver JUSTIN SCARR, chief ex­ec­u­tive, Royal Life Saving So­ci­ety - Aus­tralia.

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