With the Easter long weekend just days away, Royal Life Saving is urging men to be safe and look out for their mates while holidaying, camping and boating on our waterways.
It comes amid sobering drowning statistics which show 410 men have lost their lives while boating or fishing in Australia in the past ten years.
Men account for roughly 80 per cent of drowning deaths across Australia each year. Royal Life Saving research shows that 2188 males drowned in Australia between 1 July 2010 and 30 June 2020, accounting for 79% of total drowning deaths during this period, with men aged 25 to 44 being at the greatest risk of drowning.
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Justin Scarr, CEO at Royal Life Saving says men should be out having fun but need to stay safe while out on the water.
“The Easter long weekend is typically a popular time for people to head out on their boat or to their favourite fishing spot, but it’s not a time to be complacent when it comes to safety,” he said.
“Men taking risks and overestimating their abilities continues to be our greatest challenge. Males are over-represented in drowning statistics, especially men aged 25 to 44 years; in the past year, over 90% of those who drowned in this age group were males.
“Drowning is preventable, our research shows that too many lives continue to be lost to drowning each year.
“The tragic and unnecessary loss of life has far-reaching impacts on families and loved ones, which is heartbreaking.”
Alcohol consumption has been found to be a significant contributor to drowning, with almost one in five (19%) cases of fatal drowning among men aged 25 to 44 involving a blood alcohol content of 0.05% or more. The findings show that most people who had consumed alcohol did not intend to be in the water and drowned following an unintentional fall into the water.
In the past 10 years, most drowning deaths in men aged 25 to 44 years occurred at unpatrolled inland waterways such as rivers and creeks, accounting for 31% of deaths, more than any other location. The two most common activities being undertaken immediately prior to drowning were swimming and recreating (26%) and boating (17%).
“Alcohol consumption in, on and around waterways increases risk-taking behaviour, reduces coordination and impairs judgement, and too many Australian men are drowning as a result,” Mr Scarr says.
“Our work at Royal Life Saving is about lives, not numbers. And lives matter, especially to the people we love. None of us is invincible.”