MEDIA RELEASE: Water Safety warning for the Easter long weekend

Published 27 March 2024

Royal Life Saving Easter Water Safety Message

Royal Life Saving Society – Australia issues water safety warning for the
Easter long weekend following a heart-breaking summer of drowning deaths.

The recent summer period (2023/24) recorded 99 drowning deaths, and many more hospitalisations from non-fatal drowning incidents. While the summer season has ended, drowning occurs year-round with the Easter weekend holiday a known time of heightened risk for all ages and in all locations.

The risk of drowning increases on public holidays. Royal Life Saving research reports that a total of 123 drowning deaths have occurred during the Easter holidays over the past 20 years, an average of six drowning fatalities per 4-day long weekend.

Drowning over Easter occurs most frequently at rivers, while swimming and recreating or boating. The data shows that, compared to other times of the year, people drowned further away from home during the Easter long weekend.

Royal Life Saving Chief Executive Officer Justin Scarr said “Many people head to regional locations for their holidays to swim, boat or paddle in rivers, lakes and dams which often appear calm on the surface but may have unseen dangers. Be aware that your favourite spot might have changed significantly since you last visited”. Mr Scarr said

“If travelling away from home, pay attention to and check the warning signs and keep an eye on the weather and water conditions, even if you have been that location before. Everyone needs to wear a lifejacket when boating, fishing or paddling. It could save your life.

“Always Keep Watch and keep children within arm’s reach, designate an adult to supervise during gatherings around all bodies of water, including the backyard swimming pool. Make sure the gate is in good working order.

Royal Life Saving wants everyone to enjoy the water safely. So be prepared and stay alert whenever around water, especially if travelling to unfamiliar locations.

Wherever you are in Australia, these are our top five tips to enjoy the water safely this long Easter weekend:

  • Always supervise children around water
  • Avoid alcohol around water
  • Wear a lifejacket when boating and fishing
  • Know the conditions
  • Avoid going alone

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Royal Life Saving Society – Australia’s research, education and advocacy work in drowning prevention and water safety is supported by the Australian Government.

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