Tips to stay safe around the water

Keep watch: Active supervision of children around the water is vital.

Keep watch: Active supervision of children around the water is vital.

Royal Life Saving is issuing a plea to Australians as the summer continues, stay safe around the water to avoid further loss of life to drowning.

The Royal Life Saving Summer Drowning Toll shows that 40 people have lost their lives to drowning at beaches, rivers and pools around the country since December 1, 2017. Although very tragic, this is 39 per cent lower or a reduction of 26 deaths on the 66 fatal drownings reported at this time last summer. 

“This summer has been really tragic, 40 lives lost to drowning is 40 too many, but the fact that drowning is 39 per cent lower than at this time last summer gives us some hope that Australians are getting the water safety message, particularly along our rivers and around swimming pools,” said Justin Scarr, CEO Royal Life Saving. 

NSW has recorded the highest number of drowning deaths with 18 fatalities (45 per cent), followed by Victoria with nine drowning deaths (23 per cent), which in drowning terms is having a very bad summer.

Royal Life Saving research shows that for every fatal drowning, a further three people will be hospitalised as a result of a non-fatal drowning incident.

“Based on our research, so far this summer, an estimated 120 people will have been hospitalised due to non-fatal drowning, with many more rescued by lifeguards and members of the public,” said Justin.

Drowning deaths at inland waterways (such as rivers and creeks) are down by 73 per cent and drowning deaths at swimming pools are down 80 per cent on the same time last year. Justin Scarr CEO Royal Life Saving says “We are pleased to see much less drowning at rivers and pools. But there is no room for complacency, we urge everyone to Respect the River and always Keep Watch of young children around swimming pools”. 

Royal Life Saving Society – Australia’s Top Tips for a Safe Summer

Keep Watch of Your Children: A lapse in supervision is the number one contributing factor in toddler drowning deaths. Active supervision is vital. Be prepared, be close, and give all of your attention, all of the time.

Check Your Pool Fence: Check regularly to ensure your pool fence, gates and latches are in working order, and remove anything that kids could use to climb over.

Avoid Alcohol: Don’t drink alcohol when around water, and keep your mates out of trouble if they’ve been drinking.

Always Wear a Lifejacket: In Australia, lifejacket laws differ from state to state, however, we recommend always wearing a lifejacket when rock fishing, boating, or using watercraft.

Take Care of Medical Conditions: Know your limits. Have regular check-ups with your doctor and treat medical conditions.

Never Swim Alone: Having someone with you when you’re in, on or around the water can help save your life if you get into trouble. Not only are they great company, they can assist in an emergency.

Check conditions before going out: Check weather conditions and warnings before going out. When at the beach always check for rips and swim between the flags. When at a river, check for currents and submerged objects.

Learn CPR and First Aid: Learn lifesaving skills so you can provide vital treatment in the event of an emergency.