Safety push to tackle migrant drowning rise

WITH one third of the 86 people who drowned over summer from multicultural backgrounds – the majority, adult men – a new campaign is aimed at reducing the number of deaths.

The ‘Make safe decisions’ campaign was developed in partnership with a number multicultural communities, specifically focusing on Chinese, Nepalese and Arabic speaking people to ensure that these important messages reach the many diverse communities.
The four key messages which emphasise “making safe decisions” when swimming, boating and fishing are: Don’t go alone, Always wear a lifejacket, Don’t drink alcohol and Learn swimming and water safety skills.
Royal Life Saving NSW CEO Michael Ilinsky says people have drowned in all environments, including beaches, rivers, lakes, swimming pools and rocks, and tragically over the summer period, there were too many drownings of people from multicultural backgrounds.
“Every drowning is a heartbreaking loss to a family and the wider community,” he said.
“Royal Life Saving is committed to increasing the swimming and water safety skills and knowledge among our multicultural communities and this new campaign is one step towards addressing this issue.
“We know that communities are embracing the Australian culture of being in and around water, but some adults come to Australia without the essential knowledge and skills to keep themselves and others safe around water.”
He said that men especially from multicultural backgrounds, may be at further risk of drowning due to limited experience and unfamiliarity of waterways and lack of swimming and water safety skills.