NEW statistics showing 27 per cent of drowning deaths involve alcohol consumption has prompted a warning to Victorians not to mix alcohol with water activities.
Deputy Premier and Minister for Police and Emergency Services, Peter Ryan said that the 2011/12 Victorian Drowning Report shows 37 people drowned in Victoria in 2011/12 – three more than the previous year.
Mr Ryan said more than half of last year’s drowning deaths occurred at inland waterways.
“Many drowning deaths are preventable and people need to be vigilant about water safety whether
it’s at the beach, around rivers or lakes, or even in the backyard and home,” Mr Ryan said.
“Summer is a great time to relax and have fun outdoors but the statistics show mixing alcohol with
water can have deadly consequences.
“People need to remember to never swim alone and to look before they leap, and those supervising
children should remember it only takes 20 seconds for a child to drown,” Mr Ryan said.
The Victorian Coalition Government announced tough new laws around alcohol and boats in
September, reinforcing the message that alcohol and water activities should not be mixed.
The Coalition Government’s 2013 VICSWIM Summer Kidz Program was launched last month, designed for participants between four and 12 years of age to learn important skills for survival in and around the water over summer.
Mr Ryan said lifesaving patrols had begun at Port Phillip Bay beaches and would return to coastal
beaches on December 1. He urged people to remain alert in and around the water.
“Last financial year Victorian lifeguards performed 849 rescues and 62,881 preventative actions that
all helped save lives,” Mr Ryan said.
“I’d like to thank all our volunteer and professional lifeguards and those who support them in the
important work they do.
“This year’s Play it Safe by the Water campaign will again feature educational programs, advertising
and Water Safety Week activities from December 1 to 9.
“Victoria is very lucky to have around 27,600 Life Saving Victoria volunteers drawn from 57 clubs,
patrolling 67 beaches, giving up their time to help ensure we are kept safe in and around the water
during the summer season,” Mr Ryan said.