IN THE lead up to the Easter long weekend, Royal Life Saving Australia has released new research that reveals a total of 210 Australians drowned on public holidays over the past 15 years.
The study reports that Australians are twice as likely to drown on a public holiday than other days of the year.
Popular inland holiday locations such as the Murray River, and Hawkesbury River have been named as the leading river black spots for drowning.
Respect the River, a Royal Life Saving initiative supported by the Federal Government, aims to educate the public about the high risks associated with swimming in inland waterways and share advice on how to stay safe in rivers, lakes and dams.
Royal Life Saving Society Australia chief executive officer Justin Scarr urged everyone to take care around the water this Easter long weekend.
“Always remember that water conditions can change hourly and that the majority of these areas are not patrolled by lifeguards.”
Alcohol is a significant contributor to public holiday drowning deaths, with the risk of drink drowning being twice as high on these occasions. Men especially are susceptible to a higher risk and are four times more likely to drown than women.
Travellers are amongst the highest at risk with holiday makers aiming to get the most out of their long weekends, contributing to the high number of drownings.
Intrastate and interstate visitors are 2.5 times more likely to drown on public holidays than other days of the year. This is primarily due to lack of knowledge and familiarity with the local waterways.