You’re probably thinking, “What does someone at a security company know about water safety?”
Well… in addition to being a Marketing Co-Ordinator at Signal Security, I’m also a swimming coach and qualified teacher of swimming and water safety. Being in and around the water has been a huge part of my life and water-safety is something I am incredibly passionate about.
Heading down to the beach or river is the perfect way to cool off during a hot Summer day. Whether you’re bringing the kids down to the beach or going for a picnic along the river with friends, there is almost no better way to spend the Aussie Summer.
While you should enjoy it as much as possible, there’s always an element of safety that you need to consider.
When you think of drownings, your mind probably wonders off to an episode of Bondi Rescue, however…
As shown above, of the 276 drownings that have taken place in the past year, 29% of drownings have occurred in rivers, creeks & streams (the most of any other location). Beach drownings came in at 26% – Royal Lifesaving Australia 2019
A phrase taken from one of my favourite events of the year (Tough Mudder Australia):
“Swimming is a skill. NOT a fear. You cannot simply overcome it.”
If you can’t swim and know that there is deep water or uncontrollable elements i.e. waves, be sensible and don’t go in. Simple as that.
As simple as it sounds, it’s crazy how many people don’t do it!
Here’s a story for you. In 2018 at Gunnamatta (one of Victoria’s most notorious surf beaches), I was surfing and saw two teenagers swimming well outside the flags on their bodyboards. Despite having a floatation device, the current was still too strong, and they couldn’t get back in. My brother, myself, and a friend ended up helping them to safety on the rocks next to us. Who knows what would’ve happened if we didn’t spot them?
The flags are there for a reason. They’re not only considered the safest place to swim, but they’re also a designated area that lifeguards can focus and keep an eye on, so make sure you swim between the bright red and yellow flags.
Make sure you’re actively (always have an eye on them) supervising your children around water and if they are incapable of staying afloat themselves, stay within arm’s reach. How many times have you looked away for only moment and you’ve turned around only to see your child run off?
Did you know: The majority of drownings for infants and young people aged under 5 occurs in pools – which is supposedly the safest place to swim!
Whether you’re supervising children or keeping an eye out for friends, remember that drowning often occurs when panic sets in – even if they’re in areas where they can stand, so make sure you’re aware of your surroundings and the whereabouts of the people you’re with!
These tips are here not to scare you, but to provide you with basic advice around water. There’s nothing more Australian than beating the scorching Summer heat by cooling of at your nearest watering hole, however the safety of your yourself and others around water is imperative and something you shouldn’t treat too lightly.
I hope you enjoy your Summer as much as I do, and get down to your nearest watering hole today!
– Timothy Yong