Unfortunately, 291 people drowned in Australian waterways between July 1, 2012 and June 30, 2013. From 291 lives lost, males claimed 238 of these lives compared to 53 females. Inland waterways including rivers, creeks, lakes, and dams represented 34 per cent of these drowning’s prompting an urgent message to all Australian’s – ‘DROWNING DOESN’T LOOK LIKE DROWNING’
Drowning is not the violent, splashing call for help that most people expect or see on television. If you are spending time near the water as the weather slowly begins to warm up, be sure you, your family and your friends know the untold signs of someone struggling in the water;
Head low in the water, mouth at water level
Head tilted back and mouth open
Eyes glassy and empty, unable to focus
Hair over forehead and eyes
Hyperventilating or gasping
Trying to swim in a particular direction but not making headway
Trying to roll over on to their back
Appear to be climbing an invisible ladder
If a fellow fisherman falls over board and everything looks OK, don’t be too sure. Sometimes the most common indication that someone is drowning is that they do not look like they are drowning. They may just look like they are treading water and looking up at the deck. One way to be sure? Ask them “ARE YOU ALRIGHT?” If they can answer, they probably are, If there is no answer, they probably aren’t.
This doesn’t mean the person yelling for help and thrashing in the water isn’t in real trouble, they are simply in aquatic distress. These victims can still assist in their own rescue such as grabbing onto lifelines or throw rings.
Be safe as the weather starts to warm up, and remember; ALWAYS supervise. When children are playing in the water, they make noise. When they are quiet, you get to them as quickly as you can and find out why.