The iconic Flinders Street station joined landmarks across Victoria in turning blue on Monday 25 July to help raise awareness of World Drowning Prevention Day, with Life Saving Victoria urging Victorians to ‘do one thing to prevent drowning’.
With the 2021 – 22 Victorian drowning toll of 53 deaths dangerously close to the 20-year high experienced in 2020 – 2021, LSV is encouraging all Victorians to play their part in keeping themselves and their loved ones safe around water.
LSV general manager health promotion and communications Dr Bernadette Matthews said that taking one firm action to prevent drowning is something people can do at any level and at any time.
“We all have a role to play in preventing drowning, from making safe decisions when we’re on and around the water to proactively equipping ourselves and our loved ones with safe water skills,” she said.
“53 people lost their lives to drowning in Victoria last year, that’s on average more than one per week. While anyone can drown, no one should, and this tragic toll shows there’s still work to be done to end preventable drownings in our home state.
“Our message is simple, doing one thing can make the difference to save a life.”
This could include encouraging a loved one to get their pool fence checked, enrolling in a CPR course or swimming lessons, or educating children about swimming between the red and yellow flags in summer, a conversation is the simplest way you can save a life.
Since the first World Drowning Prevention Day in 2021, where LSV lit Melbourne landmarks blue to raise awareness to more than one million people, Dr Matthews highlighted the many state-wide strategies that have been implemented to prevent further tragedy.
“During the past 12 months, we’ve released our industry-leading Victorian Drowning Report and the Aquatic Injury Prevention Agenda to inform drowning prevention across the state,” she said.
“We’ve worked with government and our partners to formalise the Victorian Water Safety Strategy for the next five years, bringing emergency services, government and aquatic organisations together to prevent drowning.
“We’ve taught tens of thousands of people from at-risk groups of different backgrounds and abilities, how to stay safe with basic swimming and water safety training.
“We’ve supported lower income countries to enhance their own water safety efforts throughout COVID-19, engaging over 500 trainers, advisors and junior lifesavers online with Sri Lanka Life Saving.
“We’ve trained thousands of people in Victoria in safe rescue and CPR training.
“This World Drowning Prevention Day, we’re doing more than ever before and we’re asking our 43,000 volunteers and members, more than 600 aquatic facilities across the state, and all Victorians to do one thing, tell one person about water safety, to help us end drowning.”