Minister for Emergency Services the Hon James Merlino urged Victorians to get involved in water safety activities and learn how to stay safe around water this summer, at the launch event for both Water Safety Week and the Victorian Drowning Report on Monday 28 November.
LSV Principal Research Associate Dr Bernadette Matthews presented key findings at the report launch, noting that 43 people lost their lives in Victorian waters – five more than the 10 year average.
Guest speakers Steven McGibbony from Bureau of Meteorology and Acting Senior Sergeant Lachlan Holding from the Victorian Water Police also highlighted the need to understand conditions by checking forecasted weather and being prepared with correct safety equipment before heading out on the water.
Water Safety Week ran from 28 November to 4 December this year, bringing Victoria’s aquatic agencies together to raise awareness about water safety through a range of activities throughout metropolitan and regional Victoria.
Events included swimming and surfing carnivals, media events highlighting dangers of pier jumping, paddle safety and importance of supervising children around water and an aquatic family fun day event at Oakleigh Recreation Centre.
The Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Helicopter also helped to spread the water safety message throughout the state on ‘Water Safety Wednesday’, visiting primary schools in Shepparton, Echuca and Mansfield.
The program delivered water safety messages to children in regional communities, highlighting how they can play it safe when enjoying their local waterways, including showing them how to signal for help if they are struggling in the water and reminding them to always swim with a friend.
Given the rural locations, the crew also highlighted key messages about river safety, as part of the Royal Life Saving “Respect the River” initiative, being delivered with funding from the Australian Government.
Watch the Water Safety Week launch video at: https://youtu.be/Axm3icc4g3w