Drowning statistics prompt message

RESPECT OUR RIVERS: Troy Grant, Stuart Ayres and Michael Ilinsky talking about shocking drowning figures. Photo: CONTRIBUTED.
RESPECT OUR RIVERS: Troy Grant, Stuart Ayres and Michael Ilinsky talking about shocking drowning figures. Photo: CONTRIBUTED.

New research shows that 43 drownings occurred in the Nepean, Hawkesbury, Murrumbidgee and Macquarie rivers from 2005-2015, and 121 men between the ages of 25-34 lost their lives in our waterways over the same period.

Minister for Emergency Services Troy Grant and Member for Penrith Stuart Ayres released two new water safety reports by Royal Life Saving NSW and to flag the dangers in our rivers as the weather warms up.

Mr Grant said the findings from these two reports are confronting, and highlight the need for vigilance.

“The drowning statistics concerning our rivers are alarming and a stark reminder to us all to consider the dangers,” Mr Grant said.  

The drowning statistics concerning our rivers are alarming and a stark reminder to us all to consider the dangers including strong currents, submerged objects and steep or crumbly banks.

Troy Grant.

“Rivers are high risk locations for drowning and we need to ensure people take their safety as seriously as they would if heading to the beach.

“To stay safe, you must respect the river. Wear a lifejacket, avoid consumption of alcohol and drugs around waterways, never swim alone, and learn how to save a life.

Royal Life Saving NSW Respect the River messages are currently being played on TV, radio and across social media as part of this education initiative.

Mr Ayres said that the report into drownings of men aged 25-34 reinforced the dangers of alcohol and drug use in the water.

“We have lost the equivalent of a local cricket team each year for ten years, and nearly 40 per cent of the drownings involved alcohol and over 20 per cent involved drugs,” Mr Ayres said.

“It is tragic, but it isn’t rocket science – alcohol and drugs don’t mix with water.”

The Royal Life Saving NSW ‘Don’t Let Your Mates Drink and Drown’ campaign will launch in early November across multiple media platforms.