Poor swimming skills of adults contribute to summer drowning

As country faces increase in drowning deaths since the start of summer with 43 people drowning – a 23% increase from same period last year – Royal Life Saving Society – Des Australian research has found that one in four Australians admit to being weak swimmers, or not knowing how to swim at all.

The period from Christmas to New Year (at 3e January) claimed the lives of at least 20 people, twice as many as in the same period last year, 13 (65%) of these incidents occurred on inland waterways including rivers, lakes and dams.

By mid-summer, the safety message was more important than ever, said Justin Scarr, Managing Director of Royal Life Saving, “few people realize how dangerous our inland waterways can be, especially those who lack swimming skills and knowledge of local water conditions.

“The calm appearance can often hide steep drops, currents and debris, and create a false sense of beach safety.”

Scarr noted that poor swimming skills are considered a major factor in drowning during the summer – and the lack of skills is not limited to children, citing research from Royal Life Saving which shows that one in four adults is poor swimmers or cannot swim. all.

The figure is much higher among foreign-born adults, where 35% classified themselves as weak or non-swimmers.

This is concerning given that Royal Life also estimates that 40% of children leave elementary school without being able to swim 50 meters or float for two minutes – basic water safety criteria.

Scarr said that “we may be in danger of losing our label of ‘nation of swimmers’.

“The results of our research are astounding and unfortunately we can see it in the increase in drowning incidents over the summer.”

Federal Sports Minister Richard Colbeck said the Australian government is working harder than ever to ensure people of all ages understand the dangers and have the swimming skills to protect themselves and others, citing investments to ensure equipment is upgraded and life-saving volunteers can access life-saving skills-building programs.

With support from the federal government, Royal Life Saving and Surf Life Saving are working with the Australian Water Safety Council, state and territory organizations and local communities to prevent drowning across the country and increase safety awareness. aquatic.

Additionally, swimming instructors are encouraged to return to the pool to build skills and save lives as part of the latest investment in AUSTSWIM programs announced last month.

The program will focus on re-engaging with swim teachers who have left the industry and help them get back into the water.

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