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Swimmers urged to wear life jackets in inland waterways

Swimmers urged to wear life jackets in inland waterways
January 20, 2015

Swimmers in rivers, creeks, lakes and dams should be wearing life jackets according to anti-drowning charity Hannah’s Foundation.

Hannah's Foundation Director Kat Plint explained "we've seen more rural drownings this summer than backyard pool drownings this year.

"I put that down to changes made in pool safety and awareness."

According to the Royal Life Saving National Drowning Report 2014, more than a third of drownings were in rivers and creeks and lakes and dams in Australia.

Plint backs Royal Life Saving’s campaign to turn attention to water safety in inland rivers, lakes and dams.

She adds “I've spoken to a lot of mother's groups, and they are starting to come around," she said.

"The only mandatory safety measures we have at the moment is when you are in a vessel you have to wear a life jacket.

"I'd like to see that changed to people swimming in rural waterways."

Plint appreciates this may not be a popular request, telling the ABC, “we have been ridiculed at dams and rivers, 'oh look at those silly people with life jackets on'.

"But it's simple. If you wear a life jacket, fatalities decrease."

Plint hopes life jackets will become as common as boardies and bikinis during Australian summers.

She adds "we wear seatbelts in cars. And it's important to make people aware that life jackets are seatbelts of the water.

"One minute you can be in waist deep water and take a step and you can be over your head.

"It's not difficult to say 'we can't see the bottom of the dam, let's put life jackets on'."

Plint says it is not enough to teach children to swim, concluding "swimmers still get into trouble.

"I've sat in 82 drowning inquests. I see too many autopsy reports. They are distressing to read."

Founded in 2008, Hannah’s Foundation provides peer support for families of tragedies such as child drowning, ocean drownings, boating accidents, floods or other drowning incidents.

The charity also support victims who have suffered non fatal drownings (near drownings) and advocates drowning prevention and public education to prevent drownings in the future.

For more information on Hannah’s Foundation go to



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