A report into the incidence of inland water drownings in Victoria was released ahead of Water Safety Week this week.
District residents and holiday makers are being urged to take care on waterways over the summer holiday period.
The 2011-12 Victorian Drowning Report released last week revealed an increase in drowning incidents over the previous year’s record low.
The Loddon region recorded two drowning deaths, the same number that occurred in the region in the previous year.
Key findings from the report include:
For the first time, this year’s Victorian drowning report includes statistics on non-fatal drowning incidents.
From 2001-11, there was an average of 104 hospitalisations each year, the equivalent of almost three non-fatal drowning incidents for every death.
Children aged zero to four were at greatest risk of such incidents, with the highest age-specific rate of 10.83 per 100,000 population.
This data also revealed a 17 per cent increase in hospitalisations in children aged 5-14 years in recent years.
Life Saving Victoria research and injury prevention manager Dr Bernadette Matthews said data of non-fatal drowning incidents helped paint a fuller picture.
‘‘This data shows that there are many more drowning incidents than we have been aware of,’’ she said.
‘‘Some of the key risks areas we have seen this year for drowning include inland waterways such as rivers, creeks, lakes and dams.
‘‘Inland waterways can look calm but are often very dangerous; there can be strong currents as well as submerged objects that aren’t easily visible.
‘‘Flooding over recent years in Victoria has seen much more water across the state and changed conditions in many waterways.
‘‘Always read safety signs, check the depth and check for hazards before you jump or dive in and never swim alone.’’
Alcohol continues to be a key risk factor, with 10 drowning deaths (27 per cent) in 2011-12 where alcohol was reportedly consumed by the individual prior to drowning.
‘‘Drinking or taking drugs around water affects your swimming ability and judgement of dangerous situations, increasing your risk of drowning,’’ Dr Matthews said.
‘‘Many drowning deaths are preventable, so we must continue to be vigilant about water safety.’’
The report was launched in the lead up to Water Safety Week, which runs until December 9 and encourages Victorians to enjoy the water safely this summer.
Artist Nici Cumpston will hold a free Artist Talk at Shepparton Art Museum tonight, speaking about her body of work based around the Shepparton region.
It’s been a long journey for Tim Roadley but his dream of creating a multi-sport endurance event on the Murray River is now going to be a reality.
It was a big day for Jye McNeil on Sunday, not only celebrating his 19th birthday, but riding a double at the Tatura and Shepparton Racing Club’s meeting, including the big one, the Vraca and Varapodio Italian Plate (1600 m), on the Gerald Egan-trained Jetconi.
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On Friday Rochester’s St Joseph’s Primary School opened a time capsule which was buried in the 1980s.
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Valley Park Farms' egg production facility is expected to increase production and staff after a $100 000 Victorian Government grant.
Murchison’s Jane Spencer’s first exhibition It Just Dawned On Me will be on show in Shepparton in the first half of next year.
Lisa Milligan has started a new dog grooming business in Heathcote to help fund her Wild ABout Wildlife centre in Kilmore.
A group of volunteers have worked to revitalise the Cobram motorcross track to improve safety and attract new members to the club.
Federal Member for Farrer Sussan Ley says plans are in the works on how to get natural gas to Deniliquin.
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The Department of Environment and Primary Industries, Parks Victoria and Country Fire Authority will be performing planned burns in Goomalibee on Monday.
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