What can we learn from last summer?

I love summer, especially after the long cold winter we have just experienced, however, last summer was horrific in terms of drowning statistics.
From December 10th 2016 to January 3rd 2017, 22 people died drowning accidents in NSW alone – that’s nearly 1 person per day. The drownings did not discriminate, occurring across a range of ages, genders and locations including a 29 year old rock fisherman at Malabar, a 1 year old girl in a backyard pool at Raby, a a 14 month old girl in a backyard pool at Port Stephens, a 16 year old boy in a river at Dubbo, a twin girl and boy, aged 23 months, who were found in a backyard pool at Kellyville Ridge, a 56 year old man at a beach at Kioloa, a 25 year old man in the Nepean River, a 14 year old boy at Maroubra beach, a 42 year old man at a river at Wagga Wagga, a 64 year old man at a Byron Bay beach, a two year old girl at in a backyard pool at Macquarie Fields and an 83 year old man at a backyard pool in Belrose.

It’s hard to read these statistics, and even harder to imagine what the families of the victims are still going through. How did this happen? In many cases, the water safety layers of protection were simply not in place – supervision, fencing the pool and shutting the gate, teaching children to swim from babies and being prepared for an emergency. Swimming alone, intoxication and lack of awareness of river and ocean currents also played a part in many of the deaths. Let’s work together over the coming months to take responsibility for the safety of ourselves and our families in every aquatic environment this summer, and make greater Penrith a No Drown Town.