Safety on the water urged

Southern Telegraph - - News - Ce­cilia Allen

As the weather warms up, boaters and water users are be­ing en­cour­aged to be vig­i­lant around water and stay safe ahead of Aus­tralia Day.

Ac­cord­ing to the Royal Life Sav­ing Drown­ing Re­port for 201617, 42 drown­ing deaths were recorded in WA.

The re­search in­di­cated swim­ming and re­cre­ation was the most com­mon ac­tiv­ity be­ing un­der­taken at the time of the in­ci­dent.

Boat­ing in­ci­dents, div­ing in­ci­dents, and wa­ter­craft in­ci­dents were also sig­nif­i­cant con­trib­u­tors to drown­ing deaths.

Royal Life Sav­ing WA’s se­nior man­ager of health pro­mo­tion and re­search Lau­ren Nimmo said sum­mer was the most com­mon time of year for drown­ing and en­cour­aged peo­ple to be “ex­tra vig­i­lant” when around water.

“On av­er­age 35 West Aus­tralians drown each year and al­most 200 peo­ple are ad­mit­ted to hos­pi­tal or visit the emer­gency depart­ment fol­low­ing non-fa­tal drown­ing,” she said.

Rock­ing­ham Vol­un­teer Sea Res­cue Group pub­lic re­la­tions of­fi­cer Craig Bryce en­cour­aged boaters to have the ap­pro­pri­ate safety gear aboard, stored in an area where it is ac­ces­si­ble and know how to use it.

“Make sure it is stored cor­rectly and it’s not go­ing to fall down and cause in­jury,” he said.

“The other mes­sage we want to re­ally push: if you’re the skip­per, you’re re­spon­si­ble for the per­sons on board.”

Ms Nimmo said on av­er­age each year around 30 per cent of drown­ing deaths recorded in WA are con­trib­uted to by al­co­hol and the risk is par­tic­u­larly high for young peo­ple

“It’s not just a quiet drink with friends, with the ma­jor­ity of peo­ple in­volved record­ing blood al­co­hol lev­els more than four times the le­gal limit for driv­ing,” she said.

Mr Bryce en­cour­aged peo­ple to wear life jack­ets and en­sure chil­dren were also wear­ing them.

He also urged boaters to also log on and off via ra­dio or phone be­fore head­ing out on the waters and to be cour­te­ous to other peo­ple at the boat ramps.

Pic­ture Ce­cilia Allen

Rock­ing­ham Vol­un­teer Sea Res­cue Group’s Craig Bryce is en­cour­ag­ing boaters to have the ap­pro­pri­ate safety gear aboard, stored in an area where it is ac­ces­si­ble and know how to use it be­fore hitting the water.

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