Be Safe On The Water!

With the Christmas holidays here, and the beautiful Nepean River on our doorstep, it’s a good time to be talking about safety on the water, as well as in the water. Royal Lifesaving Australia have just released a ten year analysis on drowning deaths that occurred in Australian waterways whilst participating in boating and watercraft activity over the past 10 years – and the news is not good.
The report showed that 473 people drowned whilst boating, with 92% of these deaths being men. Boating remains the second leading activity prior to drowning behind swimming and recreating, with 16% of drowning deaths occurring annually whilst boating or on the river. NSW had the highest rate of drowning deaths with 149 (31%) in the ten years studied.
In many of these deaths, high risk behaviour is to blame. This study found that only 8% of people were wearing a lifejacket at the time of death, 31% had consumed drugs, of which 31% were illegal drugs, and 26% of people had alcohol in their system, with 59% above the legal driving limit. The consequences of taking drugs and alcohol include impaired judgment and coordination, slow reaction times and increased risk taking behaviour.
Royal Life Saving Society – Australia CEO, Justin Scarr says “With boating and watercraft activity a popular pastime for Australians, we urge people to take the appropriate measures to have an enjoyable and safe time on the water. It’s important to wear a lifejacket, avoid alcohol and drugs, be prepared and check conditions, and never go alone”.
Another key recommendation from the report is to learn lifesaving skills, as well as first aid and CPR, so you are able to respond in an emergency.
At home, at the beach or on the river, please be vigilant and stay Safer this summer holidays!