Don’t Let Your Mates Drink and Drown

Hawkesbury River. Picture: Geoff Jones
Hawkesbury River. Picture: Geoff Jones

As the Hawkesbury prepares for their Australia Day celebrations, residents are reminded ‘Don’t Let Your Mates Drink and Drown’.

Royal Life Saving Society - Australia released alarming results last year linking the majority of the 22 drowning deaths in the Hawkesbury River since 2002 to men under the influence of alcohol.

Royal Life Saving Society - Australia, with support of the Federal Government, have launched a new drowning prevention campaign in time for summer. The "Don't Let Your Mates Drink and Drown" campaign is urging men to look out for their mates and stand up to the sorts of risk taking behaviour that can lead to accidents and drowning.

Royal Life Saving Society – Australia, CEO, Justin Scarr said the culture of risk taking behaviour among men can be dangerous around water, and when combined with alcohol and/or drugs it is often fatal.

“Don’t Let Your Mates Drink and Drown" is a campaign that calls on men to look out for their mates, avoid alcohol around water, and to keep them out of trouble by speaking up if they are drunk or drug affected and decide to go swimming or take the boat for a spin,” Mr Scarr said.

Of the findings released last year they found that 66 per cent of all deaths on the Hawkesbury River since 2002 involved alcohol, and 77 per cent of those had a blood alcohol reading of above 0.05 at the time of death.

The stark facts made the Hawkesbury River the second most deadliest river system for drowning deaths across NSW and the fourth across the country.

The Murray River recorded the highest amount of deaths in the past 15 years in NSW with 47, with the Hawkesbury falling in second place. The Nepean River recorded 13 and Lake Macquarie 10.

The data has also revealed that the majority of the recorded drownings on the Hawkesbury River were man aged 18-34, who lived locally (within a 100km radius), and were a result of swimming, boating and falls.

“For many Australian men an esky full of stubbies is just as important on a fishing trip as the bait, or checking the conditions before swimming. This culture of drinking while swimming, boating or fishing means men are at much greater risk of drowning,” Mr Scarr said.

“Look out for your mates, leave the booze until safely away from the water, and pull them into line if they’re under the influence and thinking about swimming or boating. You can literally save their life.”