New Drowning Prevention Campaign Urges Men, “Don’t let your mates drink and drown”

Royal Life Saving has launched a campaign in response to research showing that 1,932 men have drowned in the last decade, one in four involving alcohol.

Men are four times more likely to drown than women, with males accounting for 80% of all drowning deaths.

The Royal Life Saving “Don’t Let Your Mates Drink and Drown” campaign is urging men to look out for each other, and to avoid alcohol consumption before and during swimming, boating and fishing in order to prevent further lives being lost to drowning. The campaign has been developed with support from the Federal Government.

Life Saving Victoria, CEO, Nigel Taylor ESM says “The culture of drinking around water means men are at greater risk of drowning. We all know that men are prone to taking unnecessary risks and over-estimating their abilities, but after a few drinks this can be life threatening.”

One quarter of men were swimming under the influence of alcohol when they drowned. A further 22% were intoxicated whilst on a boat or when using a watercraft.

The Don’t Let your Mates Drink and Drown campaign targets men aged over 34 as research shows they are at higher risk of drinking and drowning than teenagers or young men.

“The campaign encourages men to look out for their mates by avoiding alcohol around water, and keeping them out of trouble if they’ve been drinking and decide to go for a swim or take the boat for a spin” said Mr Taylor.

The campaign will remind men of the risks of drinking and drowning through social media advertising, radio and TV community service announcements, print advertising, and localised activities and events, urging men to look out for their mates safety.

Research by Royal Life Saving Society has revealed that 1,932 men aged 15 years and over fatally drowned between 1 July 2006 and 30 June 2016, with one in four incidents involving alcohol.

Of the men who had been drinking and subsequently drowned, 66% would have failed a random breath test with a recorded a blood alcohol content above 0.05.

Life Saving Victoria, CEO, Nigel Taylor ESM says “We are deeply concerned about the high levels of intoxication of men when in and around waterways. There has been great success in reducing drink driving on our roads, but rates of drinking whilst swimming or boating remain frighteningly high.”

Royal Life Saving with the support of the Federal Government have launched a national drowning prevention and public awareness campaign called “Don’t Let Your Mates Drink and Drown” to prevent further drowning tragedies.

“On weekends and public holidays in particular, men often get together for a day of boating, fishing or camping. We’re urging men to look out for their mates by avoiding alcohol when they’re around water and keeping them safe if they are drinking alcohol near the water,” said Mr Taylor.

Royal Life Saving believe that the culture of drinking around water is a big factor in male drowning. Mr Taylor said “For many Australian men an esky full of stubbies is just as important on a fishing trip as the bait, and more than checking the conditions before swimming. This culture of drinking while swimming, boating or fishing means men are at greater risk of drowning.”

Alcohol increases the risk of drowning by impairing judgement, reducing coordination, delaying reaction time, and heightening the chance of hypothermia.

Royal Life Saving are urging men to look out for their mates and to stop the sorts of risk taking behaviour that can lead to accidents and drowning.

As part of the Don’t Let Your Mates Drink and Drown campaign Royal Life Saving is alerting people of the dangers of mixing alcohol and water through social media advertising, local events, print advertising in pubs and clubs, and through key community groups. Additionally, Royal Life Saving are releasing a series of community services announcements on TV, radio, and print to raise awareness of the dangers of drinking around waterways, and encouraging men to look out for each other.

For more information visit: www.royallifesaving.com.au

Media enquiries to Media Key on 03 9769 6488

Royal Life Saving Society – Australia works to prevent drowning and facilitate healthy, active lifestyles by equipping all Australians with water safety skills. For the past 125 years, Royal Life Saving has worked to harness the strengths of the communities we work with to reduce drowning and turn everyday people into everyday community lifesavers. As a dynamic, not-for-profit organisation, Royal Life Saving’s key areas of activity include; advocacy and awareness-raising, education, training, health promotion, aquatic risk management, community development, research, media and marketing, sport, leadership and participation and, international partnerships.

Key Facts

·         79% of drowning deaths between 1 July 2006 to 30 June 2016 were male

·         1,932 men aged 15 years and over have drowned in the past decade. 25% of drowning deaths were known to involve alcohol

·         57% of men who drowned with alcohol in their system were aged 35 years and over

·         Over half of men who drowned with alcohol in their systems were in inland waterways (54%)

·         Swimming and recreating in the water was the leading activity men were doing prior to drowning with alcohol in their system (25%), this was followed by the use of a watercraft (22%)

·         74% of men who drowned with alcohol in their system were residing within 100km of the location where they drowned.

·         66% of men who drowned with alcohol in their system were over the legal driving limit with a BAC ≥ 0.05

Drowning prevention safety tips

·         Avoid alcohol around water

·         Don’t swim or take a boat out under the influence of drugs or alcohol

·         Never go in or on the water alone

·         Always wear a lifejacket

·         Always be prepared before heading out on the water

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