Residents are urged to take care waterways after a five per cent increase in drownings state-wide in the past year.
Residents are urged to take care waterways after a five per cent increase in drownings state-wide in the past year.

Warning as drownings rise

DROWNINGS at Fraser Island and Eidsvold were among 314 nationwide, published this week in the 2010 Royal Surf Lifesaving Club National Drowning Report.

Rainbow Beach, Burnett River and Bargara also feature on the list of water tragedies for the past year, which includes 85 deaths in Queensland.

Lifesavers have this week urged Fraser Coast residents to be careful around beaches and waterways during the holidays in the wake of the five per cent nationwide increase on last year.

It is the second year in a row the number of drownings in Australia has increased, after a long-term decline in the numbers throughout the early part of the decade.

Hervey Bay Surf Life Saving Club president Mark Thornton says visitors and swimmers in Hervey Bay should enjoy themselves but be careful.

Swimmers should always stay between the flags, talk to the lifeguard on duty and make sure children are accompanied by an adult who is a confident swimmer.

Although beaches in Hervey Bay often appeared safe, swimmers could be caught out by sudden big waves or hidden obstacles, he said.

“A lot of places and beaches seem safe but there’s little hidden reefs and rocks along there which can trap people,” he said.

He urged people to swim at Torquay Beach, the only patrolled beach in Hervey Bay.

Royal Life Saving Queensland executive director Michael Darben said the six drownings had contributed to the state’s total, the second-highest in Australia after New South Wales.

He said Queenslanders should take particular care around creeks and rivers, after the statistics revealed more than a quarter of state drownings occurred in those locations.

The lack of access to pools in regional areas meant people were more likely to go swimming in creeks and rivers, which required extra care, he said.

“We often think of the beaches and the oceans being the most dangerous areas where rivers and creeks have been particularly dangerous over the past 12 months,” he said.

Royal Life Saving chief executive officer Rob Bradley said drownings were a particularly significant issue for regional Australians, with more than 50 per cent of the deaths occurring outside major cities.

He called on an increased focus on water safety education for regional and remote schools, and improvements to be made to regional pools and aquatic centres.
 

Local tragedies

Where:

  • Fraser Island
  • Eidsvold
  • Rainbow Beach
  • Burnett River
  • Agnes Water
  • Bargara
  • Coonarr
  • Rockhampton

What:

  • 3 Beach and ocean
  • 2 River
  • 1 Creek
  • 1 Bathtub
  • 1 Cattle Dip


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