Always a risk when enjoying our waterways
The ongoing debate surrounding the potential hazards of big sharks attacking surfers shows no signs of abating. With the warmer weather on our doorstep the potential of attacks is directly proportional to the increase in the number of people who will be in the water in the coming months.
While this particular debate is all to do with self-preservation, it also centres on the devices and apparatus available to stop or at least limit the ability of sharks to attack swimmers and surfers. While the debate has been going on for some time, there is no doubt the decision-makers are listening and with the increase in the amount of equipment available to keep the sharks at bay, they are subsiding personal shark repellent devices for surfboards and programs such as the installation trialling of drum lines on our coast.
The truth is there is a risk element to everything we do and ultimately we have to take responsibility for our actions. It’s all about assessing the risk and then not only responding to that risk level assessment but then accepting the consequences should that assessment fail.
Blokes go and work underground driving Haul Packs and blowing up large amount of rocks with explosives and while they adhere to very strict safety standards, sometimes these people do not come out of the hole alive.
Oldies on gophers are some of the biggest risk takers of all as they take their chances on busy streets astride their flimsy chariots but you don’t hear them screaming out for a government subsidy to outfit their gophers with bull bars, flashing lights and sirens. And what about the fishing spot at Salmon Holes in Albany? It knocks people off with alarming regularity but anglersjust shrug their shoulders and keep on fishing there.
We are instinctively risk takers in this country and that’s why our forebears put up their hands to go to Gallipoli, to take on the harshness of the Kokoda Trail and to fight the battles of the Coral Sea and Balmoral in Vietnam.
These boys and girls knew the risks they were taking and knew that some would not come home and they took their risk-taking to a level that no surfing jock will ever understand.
Playing in the shark domain is fraught with danger but that’s part of the thrill and short of catching and killing every shark in the ocean, I am afraid the surfers and the swimmers are just going to have to toughen up a bit.