These sombre statistics are a reminder of the precarious nature of the ocean and the importance of swimming between the red and yellow flags.
SLSA General Manager Coast Safety Shane Daw ESM said that the loss of life at any time is devastating let alone during the Christmas Holiday Period.
“To have 49 coastal drowning deaths during what should be a time of celebration is far more reaching than most will ever know. With families, friends and loved ones also victims of these tragic events,” said Daw.
In honour of the lives that have been lost on our coast over summer, the Surf Life Saving Foundation website will turn black every second day for the month of April to bring awareness to these shocking statistics.
The black website is intended to highlight the dark days that these tragic drownings represent for families, loved ones and communities.
“By presenting this dramatic visual to the public, we hope it makes people stop and take notice of the summer of tragedies we have had on our coast,” said Surf Life Saving Foundation Chief Operations Officer – Brisbane, John Brennan OAM.
“With 71% of summer drownings occurring greater than one kilometre from a Surf Life Saving service, we see this as an educational opportunity for the public to ensure they are visiting a patrolled location.
“Our volunteer surf lifesavers are trained and equipped to the highest level and can certainly be the difference between life and death when someone gets into trouble in the water.”
Mr Daw said education is key when it comes to being safe on the coast and that most if not all coastal drowning deaths are preventable.
“We urge all visiting the coast to understand where they are going, their own limitations and how to stay safe. Take a STOP, LOOK, PLAN approach to your visit to the coast and where possible swim at a patrolled beach between the red and yellow flags,” said Daw.
Along with Surf Life Saving Australia, the Surf Life Saving Foundation’s vision is to strive for zero preventable deaths in Australian waters. To support this vision and the work of over 180,000 volunteer surf lifesavers, visit www.slsfoundation.com.au