Triathlon Victoria will again be a partner in the Victorian Government’s ‘Play it Safe by the Water’ campaign for 2016/17. As part of this campaign we aim to lead, and support, the water safety awareness, attitudes and practice of the triathlon community (events, clubs and individual members) and in turn act as leaders and advocates for water safety.
Executive Director Grant Cosgriff stated “It is incredibly important that the triathlon community continues to remain vigilant and strive to improve the provision of safe aquatic environments. There is a responsibility for individuals, coaches, clubs, race directors and Triathlon Victoria not only to promote the safe practice of swimming, water safety and supervision around water, but to continually be looking for ways we can improve our practice of water safety”.
The announcement coincides with the release of the 2015/16 Victorian Drowning Report. The report indicated there were 43 drowning deaths recorded on Victorian Waterways during this period, which when combined with non-fatal drownings is a total of 113 drowning incidents for 2015/16. Alarmingly, the report found a 32% increase in drowning deaths in coastal waterways, highlighting the lack of understanding that many aquatic participants still have about coastal waters.
With swimming/paddling/wadding highlighted as the top activity people were doing prior to drowning, it’s important for all triathletes and their families and friends to be aware and prepared for all conditions. Before heading out for a swimming session:
- Check the Bureau of Meteorology App (www.bom.gov.au) or Victorian Emergency App (www.emergency.vic.gov.au) for up to date conditions and warnings
- Always swim with a friend
- Learn how to spot and avoid rips (www.beachsafe.org.au)
- Refresh water safety skills including personal survival techniques and water safety knowledge
- Never overestimate your abilities… and never underestimate the risks
Triathlon Victoria asks for your support in promoting the Play it Safe by the Water campaign and looks forward to making Victoria’s waterways safer and raising water safety awareness across the triathlon community.
Key findings from the 2015/16 Victorian Drowning Report:
- 43 drowning deaths on Victorian waterways; when also including non-fatal drowning this is a total of 113 drowning incidents in 2015/16.
- A 33% increase in the drowning rate of females, compared to the 10 year average. Despite this, males remain much more likely to drown, accounting for 72% of all drowning victims in 2015/16.
- A 40% increase in the drowning rate of those aged 65 years and over. This area will also be addressed with a new public safety campaign, to commence in December 2016.
- An 8% increase in the fatal drowning rate of children aged 0-4 years in 2015/16, compared with the 10 year average.
- People not wearing lifejackets while boating continues to be an issue, with 8 drowning deaths in boating incidents during 2015/16. Over the past decade, 80% of people who drowned in boating incidents were not wearing a life jacket.
- Alcohol continues to be a common factor in drowning, representing 23% of the drowning toll each year.
- A 32% increase in drowning deaths occurring in coastal waterways, highlights the lack of understanding that many beachgoers and waterway users still have about coastal conditions.
- The top three activities that people were doing prior to drowning were swimming/paddling/wading (26%, 11), followed by boating (19%, 8), and walking/playing near water (14%, 6).
- A continued theme of unintentional water entry, including slips, trips and falls accounted for almost 40% of drowning deaths in 2015/16.