Life Saving Victoria (LSV) is urging Victorians to be safe around the water this Easter long weekend, as new research reveals Australians are twice as likely to drown on a public holiday.
This comes as the Murray River, a popular holiday destination, is named as Australia’s leading river-drowning blackspot, ahead of Melbourne’s Yarra River which is Australia’s equal second.
“It is crucial that all Victorians keep themselves, their loved ones, and their families safe over the Easter holiday period,” says LSV Manager – Operations, Kane Treloar.
“This includes being aware of and prepared for changing conditions, checking for dangers at inlands waterways, swimming between the red and yellow flags at coastal locations, and avoiding alcohol around water.”
There have been 45 reported fatal drowning incidents in Victoria since 1 July 2018, which is 10 more than the five-year average and 11 more than the 10-year average.
Twenty-six reported fatal drowning incidents occurred over summer in Victoria – from 1 December 2018 to 28 February 2019 – which is the highest summer drowning toll since the horror summer of 1997/8 which shocked the public and catalysed changes to Victoria’s drowning prevention program.
The Easter long-weekend marks the final weekend of lifesaving patrols in Victoria, with red and yellow flags displayed in the safest area of patrolled beaches and watched closely by trained lifesavers.
“Volunteer lifesavers have been extremely vigilant this patrol season, treating 1,501 first aid incidents, conducting 327 rescues, undertaking 57,222 preventive actions, and clocking up over 14,000 collective hours on patrol,” says Mr Treloar.
“Whether you are swimming, boating, surfing, recreating, or simply relaxing beside one of Victoria’s beautiful waterways, please take the time to assess your surroundings and make decisions that will keep you and your loved ones safe.”