MORE than a quarter of Australia’s drowning deaths last financial year occurred in inland waterways, prompting the Royal Life Saving Society of WA (RLSSWA) to donate rescue and safety equipment to nine WA scout groups including the Applecross-based Waylen Bay Sea Scouts.
The Swan River, heavily used by Waylen Bay Scouts, is the fourth most dangerous black spot for drowning across the nation.
Waylen Bay Sea Scouts group leader Bruce Pilgrim said water sports including sailing, canoeing and rafting were a core component of the group’s activities.
“We have around 100 youths from Joeys (5 to 7 year olds) through to Rovers (18 to 26 year olds) and a number of water vessels including sea boats, dingys, keel-boats and canoes,” he said.
“During the summer we are out just about every weekend sailing and so we carry out a number of safety exercises including capsize and man overboard drills as well as first aid.”
The RLSSWA donation of rescue throw ropes, rescue tubes, first aid kits and CPR signage will help ensure the ongoing aquatic safety of all scouts.
“Although our rivers are beautiful, more people drown in rivers than anywhere else,” RLSSWA chief executive Peter Leaversuch said.
“The dangers are often lurking below the surface, you simply can’t see ice cold water, snags like tree branches or strong currents but they can be lethal.”