National Drowning report serves as timely reminder

ROYAL LIFE SAVING: Minister for Health and Sport Greg Hunt reading the National Drowning report.
ROYAL LIFE SAVING: Minister for Health and Sport Greg Hunt reading the National Drowning report.

With summer just around the corner and as many Australians become eager to put on their swimming cossies, the National Drowning report comes as a timely reminder surrounding water safety education.

The report released by the Royal Life Saving Society shows that 291 Australians have died as a result of drowning in the past 12 months.

In addition to this, there were an 685 non-fatal drownings requiring hospitalisation with many of these people needing long term medical assistance.

The report indicated that many Australians underestimate the dangers of the nation’s inland waterways which account for almost one third of drowning deaths.

With 50 deaths in beaches and 46 in ocean harbour locations, residents in Port Augusta are at risk of falling into these statistics. 

Children under five are especially susceptible, the report revealed 29 kids aged 0-4 drowned in 2016/17 — a 38 per cent increase from the previous year. The facts come as a sobering reminder to parents to educate their children on water safety and to enroll them into swimming lessons from an early age.

Royal Life Saving Society CEO Justin Scarr said that while drowning in school aged children is the lowest of all age groups, “It is no less tragic.”

”Though many Australian children swim well, we still find too many kids can’t swim at all and have limited water safety knowledge,” he said.

“It’s important that state and territory governments, local councils, schools and parents all play their part.”

Swimming lessons run by fully qualified instructors are available at the Port Augusta Ryan Mitchell Swim Centre and are accessible for people of all ages from babies to adults.