Increased drownings prompt warning

Life Saving Victoria is urging residents to act responsibly around the region's waterways following an increase in drownings.

Life Saving Victoria is urging residents to act responsibly around the region's waterways following an increase in drownings.

A surge in drownings in Victoria has prompted a strong warning from Life Saving Victoria.

Latest figures reveal drownings have more than doubled in the past year, when compared to the state's five-year average.

While the state's five-year average is 28, the most recent statistics have seen this figure skyrocket, with 40 drowning deaths taking place in the 2016/17 year.

The drowning toll has prompted fresh reminders about the dangers of combining alcohol and swimming, with more than 20 per cent of all drowning deaths in Victoria involving alcohol.

Life Saving Victoria principal research associate Bernadette Matthews told The Guardian there had been 13 drowning deaths in the Loddon-Mallee region over the past 10 years (2006-2016).

Nearly all of these incidents involved males across all age groups. 

Dr Matthews said the incidents most commonly involved those local to the area, with the majority of drownings occurring in lakes, dams and irrigation channels.

"They also commonly occurred when the person was walking, recreating near water, boating or fishing," Dr Matthews said.

"In more than half the deaths involving adults, the victim had consumed alcohol prior to the drowning incident, with a BAC over 0.05 per cent."

To read more about this story, grab a copy of Friday's Guardian (March 17).

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