Royal Life Saving Society urges swimmers not to overestimate their ability in the water

Stock image.
Stock image.

SWIMMERS have been urged not to overestimate their ability in the water over the warmer months.

Royal Life Saving Society’s (RLSS) National Drowning Report for the 2016-17 year showed 42 people drowned in WA, with three in every four occurring during spring and summer.

RLSSWA chief executive Peter Leaversuch said there were many reasons why more deaths were recorded in this period.

He said people might overestimate their ability in the water, or simply have lost it.

He said it could also be because aquatic environments are prone to change over winter, making them unfamiliar.

“Our message is very simple and built around what life stage people are at,” he said.

“Children need to be watched around water at all times.

“If they’re a little older get them involved in a swimming program; it’s a skill for life.

“And for adults, don’t mix alcohol and swimming.”

Locally, our city’s north was Perth’s most common zone for drowning deaths over a recent five-year period.

Information from the RLSSWA revealed 36 people drowned in WA’s north metropolitan region between 2011-12 and 2015-16.

Twenty-nine of those people were male, while more than half of all incidents in this region occurred in home pools or baths.

In the south metropolitan region, 26 people drowned during the same five-year period, with males again making up the majority of deaths with 17 fatalities.

Seventeen of the deaths in this area occurred at home.

Ten of the 12 deaths in the Peel region were male.

Unlike the north and south metro regions, half of all drowning deaths across Peel occurred in the ocean and not at home.

Mr Leaversuch said men were generally thought to be overrepresented because they took more risks and were less likely to ask for news about conditions when swimming in new areas.

He said the number of pools in family homes compared to two generations ago could also be behind the number of deaths at residences.

The RLSS has been conducting swim school open days throughout WA in October, with the Swim and Survive program aiming to ensure children are taught how to swim and where to do so safely.

For information on remaining classes, contact RLSSWA on 9383 8200 or www.royallifesavingwa.com.au/opendays.

Comparison of drowning deaths by region between 2011-12 and 2015-16

26 people fatally drowned in the South Metropolitan Region (Melville, Rockingham, Fremantle, Serpentine-Jarrahdale, Cockburn, Mundaring, Gosnells, Kalamunda, Belmont, Armadale, Canning, South Perth) between 2011-12 and 2015-16:
Sex: Male (17 deaths); Female (9)
Age: 0 – 14 (3); 15 – 24 (); 25 – 54 (13); 55 and over (10)
Location: Coastal (3); inland waterways (6); home (17)
Activity: Recreating around water (14); swimming (5); other (7)

36 people fatally drowned in the North Metropolitan Region (Wanneroo, Claremont, Stirling, Mosman Park, Joondalup, Cambridge, Bassendean, Nedlands, Swan, Perth, Vincent) between 2011-12 and 2015-16:
Sex: Male (29 deaths); female (7)
Age: 0 – 14 (14); 15 – 24 (4); 25-54 (9); 55 and over (9)
Location: Coastal (11), inland waterway (3); home (19); Other (3)
Activity: Recreating around water (15); Swimming (10); Other (11)

12 people fatally drowned in the Peel region (Mandurah, Pinjarra, Waroona) between 2011-12 and 2015-16:
Sex: Male (10 deaths); female (2)
Age: 0 – 14 (3); 15 – 24 (); 25-54 (3); 55 and over (6)
Location: Coastal (6); home (3); Other (3)
Activity: Recreating around water (2); swimming (2); other (8)

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