ALMOST 500 people have died in boating and watercraft accidents in Australian waterways in the past decade, prompting safety warnings as the mercury soars and holidays near.
The Royal Life Saving Society’s 10-year research report shows that, out of the 473 deaths in the past decade, 435 of them, or 92 per cent, were men. Thirty-five of the deaths were recorded in South Australia.
The report showed that high-risk behaviour such as not wearing life jackets, alcohol consumption and drug use were the main contributing factors to boating and watercraft-related drownings.
Surf Life Saving SA chief executive Clare Harris said simple things like having a charged mobile phone to call for help, wearing the appropriate safety gear and staying sober when on the water were all basic safety measures.
“The statistics indicate that males are more likely to overestimate their ability and underestimate the risk involved in aquatic recreation,” Ms Harris said.
“Life-threatening emergencies can happen anywhere and anytime. We often hear stories of how trained Surf Life Savers have assisted with first aid or performed CPR away from the beach.
“With thousands of trained Surf Life Savers in the community, we know their impact extends way beyond the coast line.”
Jesse Sciancalepore, 19, of North Haven, is among the Surf Life Savers who will be on hand this summer to help keep water lovers safe.
While he’s hoping he doesn’t need to be frequently called on for rescues, he knows the importance of first-aid training after saving a woman’s life last month on an Outer Harbor train with only two weeks of training behind him.
“I was on my way home from uni on the train. I was two weeks into my bronze medallion training so I wasn’t qualified yet, and one of the girls who was sitting on the seat in front of me just blacked out and fell on the floor,” Mr Sciancalepore said.
“Her heart rate and breathing almost came to a complete stop so I had to start CPR on her for about four minutes, until we sat her up and waited for the ambulance.”
Now a member of the North Haven Surf Life Saving Club, Sciancalepore started his first shift last week and has also been nominated for a Save of the Month award.
Its amazing how many people drown in a country that is an island. Make sure you stay safe this summer by learning to swim and taking notice of the red and yellow flags on our beaches. Also book yourself into a first aid course with Canberra First aid so that you are trained if a drowning takes place near you. Doing a first aid course can greatly affect the chances of survival when you arrive at an emergency. Book into a course now.