MEDIA RELEASE: Water Safety warning for this New Years Holiday Weekend

Published 29 December 2023

Royal Life Saving Summer Drowning Toll Update 29 Dec 23

With the public holiday on Monday, holiday makers and day trippers are expected to flock to pool, beaches, rivers and lakes, making water safety critical this New Years Holiday Weekend.

As of 29 December, the Royal Life Saving Summer Drowning Toll reports 31 drowning deaths compared to 25 at this time last year, a 25% increase.

Royal Life Saving urges against complacency around the water, especially throughout the New Year Holiday weekend. Last summer 90 people drowned, 25% occurring between Christmas and New Year. The risk of drowning increases by more than 1 ½ times on public holidays.

Royal Life Saving Chief Executive Officer Justin Scarr said, “the period between Christmas and New Year’s Day is often the deadliest for drowning, and the period this year is now 25% higher than last. Rivers, lakes, and unpatrolled beaches can be incredibly dangerous, especially for people with poor swimming skills and limited water safety knowledge.”

Parents are advised to keep watch constantly, avoid distractions like social media, designate an adult supervisor at parties and recognise that their child’s swimming and water safety skills may not be up to scratch.

“Parents are urged to actively supervise children at all times if you are near water, whether swimming in a backyard pool, or at a dam, river, beach or lake,” Mr Scarr said.

As the New Year approaches, adults are encouraged to avoid drinking around the water, especially around inland waterways including lakes and rivers, while camping, boating, or fishing.

“Alcohol was a factor in more than a quarter of drowning deaths last summer so we’re asking everyone to make the right call around water, look after your mates and avoid alcohol until after the days water activities are finished.”

“Often the calm appearance of rivers, lakes and dams make them appear safe for swimming or wade in the water. However, strong currents, steep drop-offs and murky water can catch swimmers unaware.” Mr Scarr said.

Royal Life Saving wants everyone to enjoy the water safely, but to prepare and brush up on safety precautions, especially in unfamiliar locations.

These are our top five tips to enjoy the water safely this summer:

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

Summer Drowning Toll can be found at:

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