Winning the war on the beaches

Trigg Island Surf Lifesaving Club captain Dan Humble. Picture: Andrew Ritchie d427851
Trigg Island Surf Lifesaving Club captain Dan Humble. Picture: Andrew Ritchie d427851

Four beach drownings occurred in WA in 2013/14, 10 fewer than the previous year and the third lowest in the country.

Of the 34 beach drownings across Australia, men made up 82 per cent, with a third of those aged between 25 and 34-years-old.

Trigg Island Surf Lifesaving Club captain Dan Humble said the mentality of many young men put them at risk before they entered the water.

‘That age group of 25 to 34-year-olds, especially males, tend to take more risk and probably feel like they’re bulletproof,’ he said.

‘So when they do come to the beach, they enter the water when they shouldn’t and they don’t really take notice of the lifeguards.’

Mr Humble warned against drinking alcohol before swimming, with 47 people nationwide recording a positive alcohol reading after drowning.

‘Don’t drink and swim, don’t take drugs and swim, you don’t know how it’s going to affect your body and if you get caught in a rip, who knows what can happen,’ he said.

Mr Humble urged swimmers to talk to lifeguards before entering the water to familiarise themselves with local conditions, with statistics showing more than a quarter of those who drowned last year were visitors.

‘Before they enter the water, I’d always suggest speaking to the lifeguards; they can advise on the safest place to swim, any possible hazards, they’re really approachable and they’ll give you the best information on any given day,’ he said.

More than a third of nationwide drownings occurred in summer last year.