The Royal Life Saving Society has issued a drowning risk warning for Australia Day, saying that an average of one person a day has become a victim of Australian waterways this summer.
Between December 1 and January 18, around 59 people died in Australian waters which is 16 percent more than the same period in 2015. One-third of these lives were claimed to be taken by rivers and lakes, while three out of 10 incidents took place at the beach. In addition, one in five people lost their lives in ocean and harbours.
The society’s national Research Manager Amy Peden seemed disappointed by the figures and said that these were disturbing as it showed the repetition of the common trends. “Men are still drowning at a rate that’s four times that of women – so men are 80 percent of these drowning statistics,” she said as quoted by the ABC. “We’ve seen quite a large number [of drownings] in inland waterways – so rivers, creeks, lakes and dams and as to be expected, a significant number still at beaches and coastal locations.”
The statistics indicate these were deaths caused by people who went swimming and boating without life jackets in bad weather conditions, Peden stated. The victims belonged to the age group of 25 to 54, while five deaths recorded were of children five years or below. Peden said the common trend was being reflected with the drowning incidents as a number of men drowning is four times the rate of cases of women drowning.
Society’s CEO Justin Starr urged Australians to be more careful during Australia Day vacations. He asked the public to take care and avoid taking unnecessary risks. “Don’t go swimming if you’ve been drinking, wear life jackets when boating or rock fishing and look after each other when you’re around the water,” SBS quoted him as saying. He also requested parents to take care of their children and supervise them as children are more likely to be drowned “quickly and silently.”