TO combat alarming rates of drownings across New South Wales, the State Government is backing organisations that are working to improve safety and education.
Australia is in the throes of a drowning epidemic.
Over the Christmas break there were as many water deaths in Australia as car fatalities.
In April, the Coffs Coast bore witness to the tragic drowning of Ali Mosawi at Pebbly Beach near Diggers Camp off the Yuraygri National Park.
Two Sydney men also lost their lives on Park Beach in March last year after being caught in a rip.
Last summer 41 people drowned across New South Wales.
"Whether in the surf at the beach, kayaking on a lake or river, out on a boat or taking a dip in the backyard swimming pool, it's important to recognise that where there's water, there's danger," Member for Coffs Harbour Andrew Fraser said.
"To ensure we don't experience another horror summer season, I urge local community-based organisations that run water safety initiatives to apply for funding."
Mr Fraser said each drowning death in the community is one too many.
"Let's work together to make the 2017-18 summer season a safe one."
Applications are now open for organisations in the Coffs Harbour electorate to improve water safety in the community and help prevent drownings throughout NSW.
The Water Safety Fund Community Grants Program will prioritise initiatives that target high-risk groups and locations, identified in research undertaken by Royal Life Saving Society Australia for the government.
This includes projects that focus on:
- encouraging parents to actively supervise their children around water;
- changing the risk-taking behaviour of men;
- highlighting the dangers of swimming at unpatrolled locations; and
- educating Aboriginal communities, CALD communities, and international visitors
Grants range from $25,000 to $250,000, and collaborative projects between water safety and community organisations will be given precedence.