The Play it Safe by the Water Aquatic Injury Prevention Agenda Workshop recently brought together members from 20 Victorian water safety agencies (government, industry, community and state sporting associations), to review and provide subject matter expertise on the drowning prevention strategy for 2019/20.
“It was great to see the Victorian aquatic industry come together and set-out its plan for the upcoming year,” says Life Saving Victoria (LSV) General Manager – Government and Industry Relations, Paul Shannon.
Jennifer Brook from IPSOS, Radhika Lucas from the Cancer Council and Andrew Ellis from the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning presented and took part in a panel discussion, explaining their respective organisation’s successful public safety and education campaigns.
“This was a great opportunity for Play it Safe by the Water member organisations to hear about successful approaches to public messaging campaigns, in order to emulate this in their own future campaigns,” says Paul.
“With an alarmingly high drowning toll just recorded, it is more important than ever that Victoria’s aquatic industry continue to find innovative ways to communicate drowning prevention messages to the public.”
Last year marked 20 years since the launch of the Play it Safe by the Water communications group, in response to a horror summer of drownings and the tragic drowning of four children from one family at Gunnamatta beach, which shocked the public and was a major catalyst for action.
“In the last 20 years, the Play it Safe by the Water communications group has been highly-successful in its public messaging, with a 46 per cent decrease in the fatal drowning rate since the start of the campaign,” says Paul.
“That said, even one drowning is too many, and with the drowning rate now increasing, it is extremely important that the Victorian aquatic industry continue to collaborate.”