News National Nearly 30 drowned this Australian summer

Nearly 30 drowned this Australian summer

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Police, ambulance and surf life savers attend a drowning in Adelaide on December 18. Photo: AAP
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There have been almost 30 drowning deaths this summer in Australia, with the majority occurring on beaches.

Royal Life Saving’s Summer Drowning Toll research showed 28 drownings in December with close to 70 per cent happening in coastal locations.

“We don’t want any family or community to go through that pain,” Royal Life Saving national research manager Amy Peden told AAP.

The run of fatalities stretched into the New Year with a man drowning at Woolamai Beach on Phillip Island on Monday, bringing the toll to 29.

Surf Life Saving coastal safety and risk manager Shane Daw said 18 have died on Australian beaches this summer, one more than this time last year.

“More people are putting themselves in a position of risk,” he told AAP.

Mr Daw said people can become complacent about potential dangers such as swimming unsupervised or in unpatrolled locations and drinking alcohol and taking drugs while out on the water.

“It only takes a moment for something to go wrong. You only need to turn your back for 20 seconds for a tragedy to happen,” he said.

Mr Daw said victims ranged in age, but said the deaths of five youths under the age 15 before Christmas was particularly alarming.

He suggested life jackets should be worn by vulnerable swimmers and supervision is a must along with swimming between the flags.

The average of drowning deaths for summer is 101 according to The Royal Life Saving National Fatal Drowning Database.

“We are hopeful things will start to slow now Christmas is over,” Ms Peden said.

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