Royal Life Saving NSW is rallying communities to keep each other safe and enjoy the water this summer, with Olympic Champion, sports commentator and television host Matt Shirvington joining RLSNSW as Summer Safety Campaign Ambassador.
RLSNSW today launched its Summer Safety Campaign, as aquatic centres, community pools, riverside beaches and waterways around the state prepare for the summer season.
Mr Shirvington said the call for safety this year recognises that socialising in and around the water is part of our summer way of life.
“There is nothing better than heading to your favourite swimming spot with friends and family, but it is really important we keep each other safe and enjoy the water,” Mr Shirvington said.
“This is not just about the beach, I was surprised to learn that most drownings occur in-land 95 per cent of drowning fatalities are adults and 82 per cent of those are male.
“The message is simple: let’s keep each other safe around the water. Whether you’re fishing, boating, swimming, paddling or playing on shore, have fun, and stay safe around the water.
“There are four simple tips to keeping each other safe.
- Know your limits and avoid taking risks
- Check the conditions before you head out
- Wear a lifejacket when on the water
- Supervise children at all times
“For many areas in NSW it will be particularly important this year to look out for changing conditions as even in the most familiar waterways, things may have changed in recent floods,” he said.
RLSNSW CEO, Michael Ilinsky, said while floodwaters contributed to an increase in drowning this year, the recent 2022 Drowning Report Identified an alarming increase in drownings (drowningprevention.org.au) across NSW.
“Overall, NSW experienced a 34 per cent increase in drowning fatalities and injury from 2021/22 and a 67 per cent increase on the 10-year average.
“Significantly, the rate of drowning in children decreased, indicating the strength of safety programs and awareness campaigns.
“Adult men were a significantly high risk. In the 10 years to 2022, Greater Western Sydney recorded the most fatalities in NSW, indicating a clear gap in knowledge, experience and opportunity across the state.
RLSNSW works with communities and governments to reverse this trajectory through the First Lap Swimming Program, lifeguard and partnerships with local governments and councils to provide swimming instructor programs and community facilities.
“This summer, we’re pleased to be partnering with Matt Shirvington, a passionate advocate for the health and social benefits of living, working and playing safely in and around our water ways,” Mr Ilinsky said.
For further information please visit www.drowningprevention.org.au.
Photos and B-roll available