Sober­ing re­minder to be wa­ter wise

Whitsunday Times - - LOCAL NEWS -

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.

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