Australia’s drowning crisis: 27 West Australians reportedly drown in the last year

Churchlands MLA and RLSSWA Ambassador Sean L’Estrange at Bold Park Aquatic Centre.
Churchlands MLA and RLSSWA Ambassador Sean L’Estrange at Bold Park Aquatic Centre.

AUSTRALIA is in the midst of a nationwide drowning crisis, after 249 Australians reportedly drowned from 2017 to 2018, with 27 of these in WA alone.

A reported 61 drowning deaths have occurred across the nation this summer from December 1, 2018 to January 14, 2019, which is 20 more than last year.

A 2017 to 2018 National Drowning Report found West Australians remained somewhat vigilant, with zero reported drowning deaths in the 5 to 14 age group.

Royal Life Saving Society WA (RLSSWA) Senior Manager Swimming and Water Safety Education Trent Hotchkin said they were working to turn these figures around.

“Our message to all parents is to please enrol your children into swimming and water safety lessons,” he said.

“You can enrol them in the VacSwim program or an afterschool swim school in WA.”

Mr Hotchkin said it was not just kids who should be more in tune with water safety, but also young men.

“Young men were over represented in the drowning statistics as risk takers, and alcohol plays a part in those statistics so we encourage people to avoid alcohol around water at all times,” he said.

Churchlands MLA Sean L’Estrange said people of different cultures should ensure they are familiar with water safety.

“The Swim and Survive program has been successful but it still needs to reach out to the regional and remote parts of Australia, particularly WA,” he said.

“It also needs to make sure it captures new migrants to our wonderful state because the last thing we want is for people from diverse cultural backgrounds to not see the importance of Swim and Survive programs, and not to get their kids to learn to swim early – particularly when a WA lifestyle is surrounded by water.”