Australian men are at a greater risk of drowning, according to a recent report.
The Royal Life Saving Society’s (RLSS) National Drowning Report, released this week, shows 82 per cent of drownings in Australia last year were males.
Lifesaver at Liverpool’s Whitlam Leisure Centre, Tayla Kuru, believes men are much more willing to take a risk, therefore putting themselves in danger.
“There’s a social expectation on men to prove themselves and be physically capable to cope in rapid water conditions,” she told The Newsroom.
“This in turn leads men into dangerous situations, swimming in waters which are too deep for their swimming abilities, in comparison to women who are more wary.”
Inland waterways such as rivers, creeks and streams accounted for the greatest number of drowning deaths, with 67 (23 per cent) in 2012/13, closely followed by beaches at 22 per cent, and ocean and harbour locations at 16 per cent.
The majority of deaths occurred in NSW, reaching 104. There were 64 in Queensland and 46 in Western Australia.
Alcohol is also known to play a particularly significant part in drownings at creeks and rivers, the report said.
Brad Turner, 19, from Merrylands, is no stranger to reckless behaviour with friends while intoxicated.
“We were playing catch in the pool when a mate who’d had a bit too much to drink jumped on my back to get the ball before I did,” Mr Turner told The Newsroom.
“Before I knew it his body weight was holding me down and there was a struggle… it enabled me to lose his grip to seek for air.”
Consuming alcohol prior to aquatic activity increases the risk of drowning by impairing judgement and coordination, causing slower reaction times and greater risk-taking behaviour.
“Sharing water safety information with adolescents and informing them of the dangers which they may find themselves facing [is important],” Ms Kuru said.
“Making sure individuals and groups swim in between the flags at the beach, not taking part in reckless behaviour at swimming pools: these are all safety measures which could help decrease both sides of those statistics.” – Melisa Alic