AS the weather heats up, it is not unusual for people to forgo the indoors in favour of the beach or local pool.
But according to Royal Life Saving WA, on average four young people will lose their lives to drowning, and 10 will be hospitalised after a near drowning and sustain brain damage or spinal cord injury.
Alcohol contributes to more than 30 per cent of these injuries.
The Don’t Drink and Drown campaign has launched a number of new strategies to get young people to make smarter choices around the water if alcohol is brought into the mix.
RLSWA senior manager of health promotion and research Lauren Nimmo said the number of alcohol-related incidents was alarming and the message was not getting through.
“Too many young people are still taking unnecessary risks while in or around the water and it’s not just a quiet drink with friends,” she said.
“The majority of people involved in these incidents recorded a blood alcohol level more than four times the legal limit for driving.”
This summer, RLSWA has collaborated with the Department of Health WA to launch Don’t Drink and Drown’s new strategies to raise awareness on the risks of alcohol and water activities.
South Perth resident Kymberley Doig has been volunteering as a youth ambassador for the program for the past five years and said as a young person herself she could relate to the issues.
“Teenagers are just about to turn 18 and their summer will be filled with going to the beach, pool parties and all sorts of water activities which generally will involve alcohol,” she said. “When young people have drunk too much they don’t think about any added danger.”
Ms Doig said herself and a group of about 22 volunteers were attending the Leavers 2015 celebrations this week at Dunsborough to educate the recent school graduates on how to make smarter choices.
“We are urging young people to look after each other while celebrating this summer,” she said.