Sobering reminder to be water wise
MORE than 200 Australians drowned in pools, dams, rivers and in the sea during the last financial year, and the majority were men.
That was one of the key findings from the Royal Life Saving Society’s (RLSS) national drowning report for this year, released on Tuesday.
Overall, the report found a 10 per cent fall in the number of drownings, down to 266 in 2013-14 from 295 the previous year.
But it also highlighted that 81 per cent of drownings were men, and 61 of the 87 drownings among Australians older than 55 were also men.
Across locations, 39 per cent of drownings were in inland waterways, and swimming pools accounted for 70 per cent of all deaths in children aged five years old or younger.
RLSS Airlie Beach spokesperson Stuart Casey said there was much work to be done to reduce these figures by 50 per cent by 2020.
“As a community we need to take responsibility for the young males in our lives, our sons, brothers, nephews and boyfriends, to make them aware of the dangers of water, in and on it,” he said.
“Eighteen per cent of those young males who drowned had alcohol in their systems and half had four times the limit - alcohol and water just do not mix.”
Mr Casey said as a major tourist venue, “we see time and time again, people getting into trouble in the lagoon and nearby beaches and there’s not a wave in sight”.
“[But] in the lagoon and the beaches [here] patrolled by Royal Lifesaving over the past four years, we have had 1.3million swimmers and not one aquatic emergency and that’s testament to the wonderful job our skilled staff undertake every day,” he said.
As part of the national ‘water safety week program’, RLSS will be running free water safety activities and water education for the local community and tourists at the Airlie Beach Lagoon for the next two days - Thursday October 2 and Friday October 3, between 11am and 3pm. Activities will include Aqua Zumba, water safety lessons, boat and lifejacket drills, and CPR.
WATER WISE: Royal Life Saving Society Queensland spokesperson Stuart Casey, with a copy of the 2014 National Drowning Report, released this week.