THE Royal Lifesaving Society have issued an important warning to the public: "don't let your mates drink and drown”.
According to the Society, latest research shows that in the past decade 1,932 men have drowned. One in four of these deaths involved alcohol.
Of the men who had been drinking and subsequently drowned, 66% would have failed a random breath test.
"We are really concerned about the high levels of intoxication of men when in and around waterways. One quarter of men were drunk and swimming when they drowned,” said Justin Scarr, Chief Executive Officer of the Royal Life Saving Society.
"For many Australian men, an esky full of stubbies is just as important on a fishing trip as the bait or checking the conditions before swimming. This culture of drinking while swimming, boating or fishing means men are at greater risk of drowning.
"The blunt reality is that alcohol increases your risk of drowning because it impairs judgement, reduces coordination and delays reaction time.”
The Society are urging men to look out for their friends, avoid alcohol when swimming, boating and fishing and avoid risk taking behaviour that can lead to accidents and drowning.
Whilst people may think this is an issue for young men, research shows men aged 34 plus are a key part of the issue.
"We highlight that you should always avoid alcohol around water. Always be prepared before heading out on the water and always wear a life jacket.
"We ask people not to go in the water alone and please do not swim or take a boat out under the influence of drugs or alcohol.”
Readers can obtain more information by going to www.royallifesaving.com.au.