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NATIONAL AQUATIC INDUSTRY HUB
ROYAL LIFE SAVING SOCIETY AUSTRALIA

WATER SMART EDUCATION

FACT SHEET 02

<Title i.e. Lifejacket Safety>

Q.Why do drowning deaths occur in inland waterways?

 

A. There are many reasons. The flat, still surface of an inland waterway can give a false sense of security. Currents, even in seemingly tranquil waterways, can prove dangerous. Inland waterways are not patrolled by lifeguards, and should someone get into trouble, there may be no one there to assist. Swimmers can also get panicked if they get caught on submerged objects, which are present in many of these waterways.

 

Q.Where do drowning deaths in inland waterways occur?

 

A. In inland waterways there are many environments where drowning deaths have occurred – rivers, lakes, dams, irrigation channels, water tanks and creeks have all been sites of drowning deaths.

 

Q.What safety precautions can I take if I want to swim in an inland waterway?

A. Remember that water conditions which may have been suitable previously can change hourly with the current. Submerged objects, like branches or rocks, are often invisible from above the surface and present a real risk of neck and spinal injuries, especially to divers. Always enter the water slowly, feet first – never dive in. Be aware also that cold water can cause hypothermia. Water can be deeper than you think due to steep drop-offs in dams or riverbeds.

 

Q.Who is drowning in inland waterways?

 

A. All types and ages of people are drowning in inland waterways, from young children to the elderly. In 2014/15, there were 72 drowning deaths in rivers, creeks and streams, with males accounting for 80% of all drowning deaths. In the 25-34 years age group this increases to 92% of all drowning deaths in rivers creeks and streams.

 

Q.Why are inland waterways dangerous?

 

A. Changing seasonal patterns, flooding and other effects of nature can cause inland waterways to change. Remember if the waterway is flooded don’t try to cross it. While it may look calm and shallow on the surface it is possible that the road that was there no longer exists.

Safety Tips

Q.Why do drowning deaths occur in inland waterways?

 

A. There are many reasons. The flat, still surface of an inland waterway can give a false sense of security. Currents, even in seemingly tranquil waterways, can prove dangerous. Inland waterways are not patrolled by lifeguards, and should someone get into trouble, there may be no one there to assist. Swimmers can also get panicked if they get caught on submerged objects, which are present in many of these waterways.

 

Q.Where do drowning deaths in inland waterways occur?

 

A. In inland waterways there are many environments where drowning deaths have occurred – rivers, lakes, dams, irrigation channels, water tanks and creeks have all been sites of drowning deaths.