New research from Royal Life Saving reveals more than one-third of all drowning deaths happen more than 50 km from home, prompting an urgent warning to First Nations people as they plan post-pandemic reunions away from home with family and friends .

Unfamiliar swimming, boating, and fishing spots increased the risk of drowning. Sandbars, rips, unpredictable currents, debris below the water surface and swiftly changing local conditions are all often well-known to locals, but harder to spot by visitors.

They also point out more than half of all adults drink alcohol around the water, despite being one of the biggest risk factors for drowning amongst adults

RLS spokesperson, Sahba Clara Delshad is a Senior Policy Officer with a focus on Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander and Multicultural Communities.

She says “add to that the fact a lot of us have been out of the water during the pandemic and are out-of-practice and you have a perfect storm.”

“So please, avoid alcohol, avoid going alone and wear a lifejacket when swimming, fishing or boating so you make it home safely.”

The best thing parents and carers can do to protect children is to make sure they are always within arm’s reach when you are in the water.

These are Royal Lifer Saving Society’s top five tips to enjoy the water safely this summer:

  • Always supervise children around water
  • Avoid alcohol around water
  • Wear a lifejacket when boating and fishing
  • Avoid going alone
  • Know the conditions

Sahba Clara Delshads full interview with NIRS