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Royal Life Saving highlights river safety for Easter long weekend

Royal Life Saving highlights river safety for Easter long weekend
March 24, 2016

In the lead up to the Easter long weekend, a popular time for boating in many states, the Royal Life Saving Society – Australia has issued a reminder about river safety in a bid to prevent further drowning.

In the past 13 years, Royal Life Saving research shows that a total of 1,001 people have lost their lives in Australian rivers, creeks and streams. Of these, 81% were male with 35% of all drowning deaths known to involve alcohol. Boating fatalities claimed the lives of 145 people, with 26% of all victims recording a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) reading of 0.05mg/L or higher.

Royal Life Saving Society Chief Executive Justin Scarr explains “Easter is a great time to head to our rivers to swim, boat, fish or camp, but remember that while our rivers are beautiful, more Australians drown there than anywhere else. So we urge people to respect the river, wear a lifejacket, avoid alcohol around water, never swim alone and learn how to save a life.”

A recent survey of river users conducted by Royal Life Saving found strong community support for increased breathalysing of skippers on rivers, creeks and streams, and strong support for the wearing of lifejackets when boating. Not wearing lifejackets can have serious consequences with studies finding that wearing a lifejacket doubles a person’s chance of survival once immersed in water.

In the lead up to Easter, Royal Life Saving is urging all people heading to rivers, creeks and streams to swim, boat, fish and camp this long weekend to do so safely. Rivers are the leading location for drowning in Australia with a total of 1,001 people having lost their lives in rivers over the past 13 years. 81% of these were male and a disturbing 35% of all drowning deaths were known to involve alcohol.

Scarr comments “we traditionally see a spike in drowning deaths on public holidays and the Easter period is no exception. It’s a popular time for people to camp, boat and fish at our inland waterways and our aim is to ensure people enjoy our rivers and streams safely. Remember, Respect the River.”

Commenting on the support fro Royal Life Saving’s initiatives, Scarr adds “it’s great to see community recognition that there may be a need for further enforcement of drink-boating legislation and such widespread support for lifejackets. With the modern innovations in lifejacket design, the wearing of lifejackets does not need to be uncomfortable.

“We encourage those boating and using watercraft on our inland waterways to wear them at all times when on the water.”

With rivers, creeks and streams the leading location for drowning in Australia, Royal Life Saving is also reminding the community of the importance of ensuring they ‘Respect the River’, a public awareness and education program supported by the Federal Government.

Scarr concludes “our rivers continue to claim too many lives in preventable tragedies, including lives of young children in regional Australia.

“It’s important people Respect the River and follow four simple safety tips: Wear a lifejacket, avoid alcohol around water, never swim alone and learn how to save a life.”

Members of the community who want more information on Royal Life Saving’s Respect the River campaign should visit 





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