Boxing Day 2020 is expected to see even more people hitting the beach with many Aussies looking to make the most of their own backyard as travel restrictions remain in place.
Statistics show that fatal drownings are 2.4 times more likely to occur on a public holiday. While surf lifesavers are preparing for a bumper Boxing Day, they are also urging beach goers to not avoid patrolled locations just because they are busy.
“Surf Life Saving Australia supports the Government’s message of social distancing, but we don’t want to see people using that as an excuse to swim at unpatrolled beaches,” said Surf Life Saving Australia General Manager Coastal Safety, Shane Daw.
“We have more than 314 patrolled beaches across the country and people can easily download the BeachSafe APP or visit www.beachsafe.org.au to find their nearest red and yellow flags.”
Last summer there were 125 coastal drowning deaths, with males accounting for 86% of all drowning deaths.
“There are five national holidays over summer, with fatal drowning incidents 2.4 times more likely to occur on these days,” Mr Daw said.
“It’s important that if you’re visiting the beach this Boxing Day to swim between the flags, look out for your mates, supervise children on, in and around water and not take unnecessary risks.
“503 people have died along our coastline with alcohol and drugs in their system in the last 16 years, 344 as a result of drowning. Don’t become one of them this summer,” he said.
Mr Daw also took the opportunity to remind Australians of the importance of wearing life jackets when boating, rock fishing and using recreational watercraft (kayaks, PWC etc).
“For those boating, rock fishing and on watercraft the message is simple – please wear a lifejacket – it could save your life,” Mr Daw said.
For more information on how to stay safe when visiting the beach this summer, or find your nearest patrolled location, visit www.beachsafe.org.au or download the BeachSafe APP.
For all the latest coastal drowning trends – click here for the National Coastal Safety Report.