Life Saving Victoria is urging visitors to the state’s inland waterways to remember to play it safe by the water following two drowning deaths at rivers in the state’s east this week.
An 18-year-old NSW woman died after drowning at the Thomson River at Coopers Creek on Monday 30th December. A man from Mill Park, aged 38, drowned after falling into the Goulburn River in Kevington, near Jamieson, the same day.
Life Saving Victoria’s Principal Research Associate Dr Bernadette Matthews said the two deaths were a tragic reminder of the inherent dangers of inland waterways.
“Our thoughts go out to the family and friends of those involved following these tragic incidents – especially at this time of year when the start of a new year should be a time for celebration with loved ones,” Dr Matthews said.
“The two incidents bring the total number of reported drowning deaths in Victoria to 17 this financial year. Of those, 10 of the deaths have occurred in inland waterways – and this represents a figure higher than average, which is concerning.
“Those visiting the state’s rivers, creeks, dams and streams this summer need to understand that there are hidden dangers such as debris, submerged objects and fast-flowing currents that can catch people out.
“You might even be visiting an inland waterway with no intention of swimming, but please be aware of unstable edges and heed safety signs. If you are not a confident swimmer, avoid putting yourself in harm’s way by not getting too close, and remember to always wear a lifejacket when boating and fishing.”
Dr Matthews said the warning came as many parts of the state have had little relief from days of high temperatures and were battling extreme weather conditions, with temperatures set to reach the high 30s in most parts of Victoria this weekend.
“We know Victorians and visitors will be on high alert when it comes to the extreme fire danger conditions forecast and we are also urging them to respect the potential dangers of our rivers.
“Our key water safety messages for Victorians around inland waterways this summer are to wear a lifejacket, avoid alcohol around water, never swim alone and be aware of your own abilities around water.”
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