River safety mes­sage spread

Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - NEWS -

RIVERS and other in­land wa­ter­ways ac­count for more drown­ings than beaches and swim­ming pools, ac­cord­ing to re­search from the Royal Life Sav­ing So­ci­ety.

The re­search found WA rivers claimed the lives of 78 peo­ple since July 1 2002, and the Swan River was the fourth most dan­ger­ous spot for drown­ing in Aus­tralia.

Royal Life Sav­ing So­ci­ety WA (RLSSWA) chief ex­ec­u­tive Peter Leaver­such said rivers held a num­ber of hid­den dan­gers.

“Al­though our rivers are beau­ti­ful, more peo­ple drown there than any­where else be­cause the dan­gers are of­ten lurk­ing below the sur­face,” he said.

“You sim­ply can’t see ice cold wa­ter, snags like tree branches or strong cur­rents but they can be lethal.”

RLSSWA held a Swim and Sur­vive on the Swan pro­gram at the As­cot Kayak Club last week.

The aim was to raise aware­ness of the po­ten­tial dan­ger and teach chil­dren es­sen­tial swim­ming and life sav­ing skills.

“We are ask­ing peo­ple to fol­low four sim­ple steps to re­duce their drown­ing risk in rivers: wear a life jacket, avoid al­co­hol, never swim alone and learn how to save a life,” Mr Leaver­such said.

Swan MHR Steve Irons at­tended the pro­gram and said it was es­sen­tial chil­dren learn life sav­ing skills and en­sure safety was a pri­or­ity.

Royal Life Sav­ing So­ci­ety WA chief ex­ec­u­tive Peter Leaver­such with Swan MHR Steve Irons.

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