But with 28 coastal drowning deaths occurring since the start of Summer*, surf lifesavers are reminding people to swim only at patrolled beaches, in what is tipped to be a bumper public holiday.
Surf Life Saving Australia CEO, Adam Weir, said while the statistics are sobering, they are also a reminder to beachgoers to play it safe over the holidays.
“We want everyone visiting our coastline to have a fun and enjoyable time, and most importantly return safely to their loved ones. The simple way to do that is to make safety a priority.
“Sadly, we have lost 28 people along our coastline this summer alone, with all drowning deaths occurring outside the red and yellow flags, either at unpatrolled locations or outside of patrol hours.
“The Australia Day public holiday, we see the risk of drowning increase by 3.94 times than for other days of the year.
“There are a combination of factors including an increase in risk-taking behaviours, such as alcohol consumption, and crowded beaches which may lead beachgoers to seek out unfamiliar and unpatrolled locations.
“Rip currents remain the number one coastal hazard and have contributed to at least 50% of coastal drowning deaths this summer – all at unpatrolled beaches.
“Our simple message is to find a patrolled beach and swim between the red and yellow flags if you can. There are 600 patrolled beaches across the country, and you can find your closest beach using beachsafe.org.au or downloading the BeachsafeAPP.
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.
SURF LIFESAVERS Safety Tips for Australia Day Public Holiday 2023:
- Swim at a patrolled beach between the red and yellow flags. Visit BeachSafe to find a patrolled beach: https://beachsafe.org.au/
- Wear a lifejacket if you are going boating, rock fishing, or on watercraft
- Avoid alcohol and drugs when around water
- Always supervise children on, in and around water at all times
- Check weather conditions before heading out.
- Seek the advice of surf lifesavers or lifeguards
- STOP, LOOK, PLAN
STOP – check for hazards and danger e.g. rip currents
LOOK – for other dangers
PLAN – how to stay safe, and swim at a patrolled beach