Lee Duffield

Edited by Lee Duffield
Freedom and Truth

Australia’s drowning rate hits seven-year high

New statistics have revealed a significant spike in the number of drownings in Australia, sparking safety concerns with summer just around the corner.

In the past 12 months 314 people have drowned in Australia, which is the highest rate Australia has recorded in seven years.

These alarming statistics have prompted the Royal Lifesaving Society to call for urgent action to try and halve the death rate by 2020.

Chief Executive of the Australian Royal Lifesaving Society, Justin Scarr says the increase can partly be attributed to the change in weather patterns in the past year.

“There’s a lot more water moving through river systems across the country particularly in Queensland,” he said.

“More water unfortunately means more drowning. People are recreating in those sorts of conditions where they’re also exposed to significant flooding and we’ve seen a number of drownings from people trying to cross flooded roadways.”

The statistics revealed 80 per cent of all drowning deaths occurred in males.

Executive Director of Queensland’s Royal Lifesaving Society, Michael Darben, says these figures correspond to the general difference in the nature between men and women.

“Men are more likely to take risks and are also more likely to pursue recreational activities like rock fishing and boating,” he said.

“They [men] do take those extra risks that women usually wouldn’t.”

Swim Australia chief executive Ross Gage says drowning rates could be reduced by practising and promoting safety both in and around the water and can be looked at in layers of protection.

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“The first layer being the supervision by the competent adult and it needs to be constant,” he said.

“The second layer then being the barriers (pool gates), the third layer having the water safety skills and then the fourth layer is having an emergency action plan in place which involves CPR.”

Mr Scarr says there are a number of things that need to be done to help reduce the drowning rate.

“We can never underestimate the need to keep a careful watch on our children,” he said.

“We also at this time of year need to be checking our home swimming pool environment very carefully and make sure that the fence and gate are in good working order.”