Drowning deaths rise in Australia | Canberra weather



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One in four Australians are weak swimmers or cannot swim at all as the country sees an increase in drowning deaths, new research shows. The Royal Life Saving Society has estimated that 40% of children leave primary school without meeting basic water safety criteria, such as the ability to swim 50 meters or float for two minutes. When asked why they can’t swim, 36% of those surveyed said they were afraid of water and 11% said it was because their parents couldn’t swim either. Since the start of the summer, 43 people have drowned, an increase of 23% over the same period last year. Thirteen of those deaths have been in inland waterways, and company chief executive Justin Scarr said few appreciate how dangerous rivers, lakes and dams can be. “The calm appearance can often hide steep drops, currents and debris, and create a false sense of beach safety,†said Scarr. He said the holiday message the organization was “almost sick” to convey was to avoid drinking alcohol while swimming. Almost a quarter of those polled said they sometimes went into the water after consuming alcohol. Respondents from Queensland and Western Australia were more likely to admit this behavior. Sports Minister Richard Colbeck said swimming teachers were encouraged to return to the pool to boost their skills and save lives. “The number of drownings this season is too high,” said Colbeck. “It only takes a few seconds for someone to experience problems in the water and we know all too well the consequences this has on families.” Australian Associated Press




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