Life Saving Victoria is urging people to drink responsibly around water with alcohol related drownings representing over 20 per cent of the total drowning toll each year in Victoria.
This risk is heightened on Australia Day as many people head to the beach, pool, lakes or rivers to celebrate the public holiday and long weekend.
On average nine drownings in Victoria each year are alcohol related and statistics show 9 out of 10 alcohol related drownings involve males, most aged between 25 and 44.
Life Saving Victoria’s Principal Research Associate Dr Bernadette Matthews said typical activities prior to drowning include swimming and unintentional entry into water such as slips, trips and falls.
“In many cases, people who have been drinking make poor decisions about entering the water or they unintentionally slip or fall in,” she said.
“Alcohol not only affects your judgement of situations, but also your ability to respond and react.
“Around the water, this means you are more likely to fall and less likely to be able to get yourself out of trouble.”
Unintentional water entry accounted for 40 per cent of fatal drowning incidents in Victoria last year (18).
Dr Matthews said it’s important to drink responsibly around water and swim with a friend where possible.
“Alcohol affects your swimming ability and judgement of dangerous situations.
“It’s important to look out for your mates around water, and always have a designated non-drinker who can look out for your safety and respond in case of an emergency,” she says.
“Don’t let your mates drink and drown.’’
LSV is also urging parents and caregivers to supervise children around water at all times.
“20 seconds is all it takes to drown,” says Dr Matthews. “Caregivers must keep children under 10 in eye-sight and keep children under 5 within arms’ reach.”
For further information please call LSV media on 0411 193 962 or visit our website.