Whether you’re backing the Cats or the Swans this AFL grand final long weekend, Wyndham residents are reminded to be safe in, on and around water while celebrating the big game.
With Victorians 68 per cent more likely to drown on a public holiday than on any other day of the year, Life Saving Victoria (LSV) general manager Paul Shannon is urging punters to look after their mates and remember that alcohol and water-related activities do not mix.
“With a four-day weekend and the first grand final on Victorian turf in two years, plus the grand final parade on the Yarra River, we know Victorians will be eager to celebrate, but we urge them to do so safely,” Mr Shannon said.
“Alcohol and other drugs were a factor in 31 per cent of drownings in the past decade, so footy fans are reminded that unlike Sydney’s mascot, if they have been drinking, they should make like Cats and avoid all water-related activities.
“Leave the aquatic antics to parade performers.”
Mr Shannon said men are at particular risk, accounting for 75 per cent of drownings in Victoria last year.
“For those celebrating the long weekend in, on or around the water, keep an eye on your mates and make sure they are making smart decisions.
“If you are going to swim or recreate, always go with a friend, assess the conditions before you go, knowing they may change suddenly, and let someone know where you are and when you plan on returning.
“Boaters and fishers are reminded to wear a life jacket, and have safety equipment such as distress beacons with them.
“Remember, if something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t, so if in doubt, don’t go out.”
During 2021-22, 53 people drowned in Victoria, that’s 23 per cent more than the 10-year average and 53 families missing a loved one this long weekend.
“While anyone can drown, no one should. Drowning is preventable, so never underestimate the risks around water or overestimate your abilities.”