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Life Saving bodies urge Australians to take action to end drowning on World Drowning Prevention Day
Royal Life Saving and Surf Life Saving, Australia’s peak water safety organisations, are joining forces to mark the first World Drowning Prevention Day on Sunday 25th July by calling on all Australians to take action to end drowning.
Being marked across the world, World Drowning Prevention Day has resulted from the historic first United Nations Resolution on Global Drowning Prevention which was adopted in April 2021.
An estimated 236,000 people drown globally each year, with more than 90% of drowning deaths occurring in low- and middle-income countries. Drowning rates in countries in the Asia-Pacific region can be up to 20 times higher than the rates in Australia.
The day recognises the enormous human toll of drowning. In Australia, hundreds of families mourn the loss of loved ones to drowning each year. Hundreds more are left with life-long injuries as a result of a non-fatal drowning.
World Drowning Prevention Day highlights the ways drowning can be prevented.
Commenting on the significance of the day, Royal Life Saving Society - Australia Chief Executive, Justin Scarr stated “everyone can play a role in preventing drowning. Males are the most at risk of drowning and we would particularly urge men in the 15 to 45 age group to avoid alcohol and drugs around water..
“For families, the key is supervision, pool fencing and swimming lessons. Young children should always be within an arm’s reach of an adult near water. Checking your pool fence and gate ahead of summer can literally be lifesaving. While many swim schools are closed, lessons should be a top priority as we approach warmer weather”.
Urging all Australians to be cautious along the coastline and thanking surf lifesavers around the country who continue to save lives and prevent drowning, Surf Life Saving Australia Chief Executive, Adam Weir added “we all have a role to play to prevent drowning in Australia and SLSA urges everyone to enjoy our coastlines safely by swimming between the red and yellow flags and understanding their limitations in and around water.
“In particular I would like to thank our 47,304 surf lifesavers who last season dedicated 1.2 million hours on patrol and performed 7,731 rescues, and who continue to save lives, prevent drownings and keep communities around Australia safe.”
With the support of the Australian Government, Royal Life Saving and Surf Life Saving work with the Australian Water Safety Council, State and Territory organisations, and local communities to prevent drowning across the country and increase water safety awareness.
To stay safe around water, Royal Life Saving and Surf Life Saving urge all Australians to:
- Always supervise children in, on and around water
- Learn swimming, water safety and lifesaving skills
- Wear a lifejacket when boating, rock fishing or paddling
- Swim at a patrolled beach between the red and yellow flags
- Avoid alcohol and drugs around water
Key global facts about drowning:
- Drowning has been the cause of over 2.5 million preventable deaths in the last decade.
- It is a significant international issue that to date has been largely unrecognised relative to its impact. WHO estimates that 235,600 people died from drowning in 2019.
- This figure excludes drowning attributable to flood-related disasters and water transport incidents, so is considered an under-representation.
- Drowning is among the ten leading causes of death for children and young people aged 1-24 years in every region of the world.
- More than 90% of drowning deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries.
- Flood-related disasters increasingly affect millions of people globally due in part to the escalating adverse impacts of climate change, and drowning is the leading cause of deaths during floods.
- Over 60% of all drowning deaths are in the Western Pacific and Southeast Asia regions.
- Rates of drowning deaths per 100,000 population are highest in the Western Pacific region, followed by the African region.
Information about World Drowning Prevention Day be found here at www.royallifesaving.com.au/about/campaigns-and-programs/World-Drowning-Prevention-Day and www.who.int/campaigns/world-drowning-prevention-day/2021
5th February 2021 - Broadbeach gym manager dies in Gold Coast drowning incident
25th January 2021 - Surf Life Saving Australia warns drowning deaths more likely on public holidays
21st October 2020 - Blacktown City Council launches Drowning Prevention Strategy
30th September 2020 - CQU researcher seeks input with study into drowning prevention strategies
21st September 2020 - Water Safety New Zealand invests $2.5 million in drowning prevention initiatives
5th December 2019 - AUSTSWIM receives funding boost to combat multicultural drownings
7th November 2019 - NSW lifeguards look to halt drownings of foreign swimmers this summer
17th December 2017 - Complacency surrounding Asian drowning epidemic also impacts Australia
29th October 2011 - Asian floods expose child drowning ‘epidemic’
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