Australians are twice as likely to drown on public holidays, with Border residents and holidaymakers being warned to be alert while enjoying themselves on the Murray this Easter period.
Data from Royal Lifesaving Australia shows 210 Australians have drowned on public holidays in the past 15 years.
Forty-one people died in the Murray in the decade to June 30, leading to it being named the number one river blackspot for drownings.
Already this year tragedy has struck on public holidays, when Leigh Marshall, 37, of Melbourne drowned while swimming in the Murray River, Yarrawonga, on January 26.
The Australia Day drowning came only weeks after Nepalese student Bigul Pandit was swept underwater in the Murray, presumed drowned.
Albury and Border Rescue Squad Captain Paul Marshall said when someone dies in our waterways it affects a vast number of people from the person's family and friends to fellow swimmers and rescuers.
"It's like a rock into the water, the ripples spread far and wide," he said.
"The recent drowning we've had here in Albury [of Mr Pandit], we're still feeling the ripples from that.
"It upsets and stresses rescuers and emergency workers - no one wants to see that level of grief and loss in anyone's life."
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Mr Marshall said there were a number of factors which made drownings more likely on public holidays, especially the Easter break.
"It's proportionate, there are a lot more people holidaying around in areas and using the river," he said.
"On holidays people drink more, eat more and enjoy themselves a bit more and some of their barriers are down, unfortunately that mixed with water can result in tragic events."
Mr Marshall said for many the Easter holiday period was the last chance to enjoy the water before the weather becomes decidedly wintry.
He said although the temperature was still reaching mid-20s out of the water, the river was significantly cooler which increased the risk of drownings.
"People go into shock," he said. "They jump into the water and when they hit the cold they can take a gulp of air because the body has gone into shock and often water gets in with that gulp and people get into trouble.
"Also that initial shock to the body can lead to people struggling to try get out and getting overcome."
Mr Marshall said canoeists should wear life-jackets, carry a phone and be aware low river levels in the Upper Murray could have exposed snags.
He said anyone using the river should not do so alone and should tell people their plans.
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