As Western Australia’s coastal and ocean drowning deaths continue to rise, Surf Life Saving WA is imploring people to take heed of warnings and plan appropriately ahead of what is expected to be a warm Easter long weekend and start to the school holidays.
“We have seen a 140% increase year to date on last year’s drowning figures*, taking our total to 24, which is extremely concerning,” said Surf Life Saving WA General Manager of Lifesaving, Chris Peck.
“We don’t want to see this figure continue to rise, either because people are taking unnecessary risks or not planning appropriately for the activities they are looking to undertake at the beach or on the coast.”
Beachgoers are also being reminded that Lifesavers cannot be everywhere and that they need to take personal responsibility for their safety.
While Mr Peck said that no one headed out to the beach or for an afternoon of fishing, not expecting to return home, with some simple planning, there were ways to ensure they did return home safely to friends and family.
“If you’re heading to the beach, make it one where you are familiar with the conditions or where there are surf lifesavers on duty,” said Mr Peck.
“We know that with the salmon running, many anglers will be taking to the rocks along our south coast with hopes of catching this prized sports fish”.
“The message is simple: wear a lifejacket, fish with friends, and use the tie-off points provided. Better yet, fish from the sand”.
“All too often, our lifesavers and emergency response teams are having to go to the aid of people who, as a result of poor preparation, have ended up in trouble”, said Mr Peck.
“And despite best efforts, we are not always able to get to people in time.”
Warnings have also been issued around a potential increase in shark activity associated with the salmon run.
The Surf Life Saving WA Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter will also patrol daily in both the metro area and south-west, across the Easter and school holidays.
Beachgoers are reminded to follow Surf Life Saving WA on Twitter at @SLSWA for up to the minute shark sightings, beach alerts, beach closures and alerts, or visit mybeach.com.au to view the live beach cameras and find patrolled beach locations.
*WA Drowning Database
Photo Credit: Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter
For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact:
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E: firstname.lastname@example.org P: 9207 6666
SLSWA Media Phone – media are reminded of the SLSWA Media Phone that is manned at the SurfCom radio operations base. Please call this number with media enquiries, particularly over weekends and Public Holidays: 0448 025 339
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