A recent report from the Royal Life Saving Society of Australia shows a dramatic escalation in the number of drowning deaths this summer.
In the period from the 24th of December to the 12th of January, 41 people drowned – a 71% increase on the same period 12 months ago.
Royal Life Saving’s CEO Rob Bradley said thousands of people have been affected by these 41 drowning deaths, which he described as deeply troubling.
“Frankly, we are horrified and we remind people to make sure you are swimming at a recognised swimming location. Do not over-estimate your ability,” he said.
Mr Bradley said the drownings happened at many different water locations.
“A common misconception is that most drownings happen at the beach. Inland waterways are very treacherous. Rivers and lakes may appear on the surface to be calm and tranquil but can be very dangerous,” Mr Bradley said.
In Tasmania, 10 surf life saving clubs provide volunteer patrol services on weekends from December to March.
Kingston beach, in the south of the state, is patrolled during these months on Sundays and public holidays.
Kingston beach patrol captain Phil Leishman said swimming between the flags is the safest way to go, but that not everyone heeds that message.
“The parents will bring the younger kids in here, but the teenagers will always go outside because it’s not cool, they don’t think it’s cool to swim between the flags,” he said.