LETTER: Be careful around the water these holidays

RESEARCH shows that 210 Australians drowned on public holidays over the past 15 years.

The study reports that Australians are twice (1.73 times) more likely to drown on a public holiday than other days of the year.

Popular inland holiday locations such as the Murray River have been named as the leading river black spots for drowning.

Respect the River, a Royal Life Saving initiative supported by the Federal Government, aims to

educate the public about the high risks associated with swimming in inland waterways and share advice on how to stay safe in rivers, lakes and dams.

With many Australians making the most of the extended holiday period, we’re urging everyone to take care around the water this Easter long weekend.

Always remember that water conditions can change hourly and that the majority of these areas are not patrolled by lifeguards.

Alcohol is a significant contributor to public holiday drowning deaths with the risk of drink drowning being twice as high on these occasions. Men are susceptible to a higher risk and are four times more likely to drown than women.

Travellers are among the highest at risk and intrastate and interstate visitors are 2.5 times more likely to drown on public holidays than other days of the year.

This is primarily due to lack of knowledge and familiarity with the local water ways.

Justin Scarr,

Royal Life Saving Society-Australia CEO