A SPIKE in drownings in the first month of summer has prompted the Royal Lifesaving Society to ramp up warnings about the dangers of waterways including the Murray River.
Forty-one drownings have occurred in recent weeks including five in Victoria with federal sports minister Bridget McKenzie joining RLS national manager Craig Roberts in Albury to hammer home the message about staying safe near water.
“People need to be vigilant in those spaces,” Mr Roberts said.
“We need to lookout for eachother as a number of these drowning deaths have occurred where people are swimming or recreating by themselves.”
Extra care was needed from migrants unfamiliar with waterways and males aged 18-35 years.
Senator McKenzie said the drowning deaths total was simply too high and urged people camping on the Murray River this summer to keep alert.
“Right along the Murray from here in Albury-Wodonga, right through to Mildura, Echuca-Moama, Yarrawonga-Mulwala, people are flooding to this waterway to celebrate New Year,” she said.
“We just want you to be safe and want you to see the new year in and that means looking after your mates and watching your alcohol consumption.”
The government has committed $36.9 million through the water and snow safety program to mid-2021 including more than $4 million towards inland waterways drowning prevention initiatives with the RLS.