With the holiday season now upon us, senior police and lifesavers are encouraging parents and children to be extra vigilant about water safety in a bid to prevent drowning tragedies.
There were 315 drowning deaths across Australia between 1 July 2010 and 30 June 2011, with 107 (34%) of those occurring in New South Wales. A total of 129 drowning deaths were recorded nationally last summer; with the majority occurring at beaches and in harbours, as well as inland rivers, creeks/streams, and swimming pools.
As part of its Play Safe, Stay Safe campaign, NSW Police Force has joined with Surf Lifesaving NSW to promote summer water safety. Central Metropolitan Region Commander, Assistant Commissioner Mark Murdoch said, “everyone should be vigilant about water safety – especially over summer.
“There is often a spike in drowning deaths over the warmer months and we’re hopeful that these can be prevented by increasing public awareness.”
Surf Life Saving NSW CEO, Phil Vanny said, “regardless of where you might travel to these holidays, the same safety rules still apply – swim at patrolled beaches between the red and yellow flags.”
“Be aware that conditions can change quickly. Before you enter any water body, spend time observing it, looking for any rips or currents, and take note of any signage around the area. If in doubt, ask a lifesaver, a local or visit tourist information centres.”
“Never dive into an unfamiliar body of water; always enter the water slowly and feet first,” Mr Vanny said.
To locate patrolled beaches go to www.beachsafe.org.au (also downloadable as a free app).