In the lead up to summer, I urge the community to stay safe in and around the water, as the NSW Government launches its 2018 water safety advertising campaign.
Last summer, 36 people tragically drowned in NSW waterways, and seven of those were between Christmas and 2 January 2018.
While this is an improvement on the 2016-17 summer, we want everyone to return home safely from their day at the beach/pool.
Each year, men aged between 18 and 24 are overrepresented in our state’s drowning deaths and I am urging them to swim between the flags, look out for their mates and don’t drink alcohol or take drugs before swimming.
Based on the findings of a Royal Life Saving NSW (RLSNSW) report, the Be Water Safe, Not Sorry campaign aims to drive home the very real risks associated with water and educate people on what they can do to stay safe, including:
- Swim at patrolled beaches where possible – no flags means no lifesavers
- Stay sober – don’t drink or take drugs and then go swimming
- Always supervise small children in or near water – don’t let phones or household jobs distract you.
Expanding on last year’s campaign, people will be reminded to stay safe as they head to the beach, pool or other waterway via radio, social media, newspapers, billboards and buses, and while listening to summer playlists.
People are understandably excited for the Christmas break and school holidays, and often flock to our beaches and beautiful waterways to celebrate this period.
Unfortunately, the festive season is also the peak time when we lose loved ones to drowning, especially on public holidays.
While we want everyone to have a good time, mates don’t let mates do stupid things, so we are reminding everyone to take care and step in if you think someone shouldn’t be swimming.
For more information on the NSW Government’s Be Water Safe, Not Sorry campaign and the Royal Life Saving Summer Drowning Report 2017-18, visit: www.watersafety.nsw.gov.au