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Calls for caution over long weekend as June fishing risk data revealed by Life Saving Victoria

Life Saving Victoria is calling for caution over the long weekend and throughout June, after data from the past 20 years revealed fishing as one of the month's high-risk activities for drowning.

By news@gippsland - 9th June 2022 - Back to News

While Victorians are being warned their likelihood of drowning increases by 68 per cent on public holidays across coastal and inland waterways and pools; new aggregated Victorian drowning statistics also reveal fishing as a high-risk activity, with harbours, bays and inlets topping the list for risky locations.

The warnings come as this year’s drowning toll approaches last year’s 20-year-high, with 52 reported fatal drownings in Victoria from 1 July 2021 to 31 May 2022

The warnings come as this year's drowning toll approaches last year's 20-year-high, with 52 reported fatal drownings in Victoria from 1 July 2021 to 31 May 2022

Ensuring safety near water

Life Saving Victoria's coordinator research and health promotion Beata Kiss said that people who fish from boats or rocks need to carefully consider the water conditions and ensure they have the appropriate safety gear in order to stay safe.

"Despite the cooler weather, we know people still like to enjoy fishing at pristine locations across Victoria, particularly over the Queen's birthday long weekend. It's concerning to see that 56 percent of people that drowned in boating incidents over the past decade were not wearing a lifejacket and in 23 percent of cases, the lifejacket was not worn correctly or was inappropriate for the activity." Ms Kiss said.

"Always wear an approved and correctly fitted lifejacket, and grippy shoes on slippery surfaces, whether you're fishing from a boat or from the shore, including if you're rock fishing. It's important to remember that even if you don't intend to get in the water, you can still find yourself in danger if you fall in, so lifejackets are essential." Ms Kiss said.

Summer safety

Ms Kiss continued, "If you do find yourself in the water, a lifejacket can buy you time to survive while you wait for help to arrive. Drowning statistics from the past 20 years have revealed that one in ten drownings that have occurred while the person was fishing from a boat or from the shore, occurred in June."

"The positive is that there are some simple steps you can take to avoid a potentially fatal situation while fishing. Check the conditions, remain aware of your surroundings, and actively supervise kids if they're fishing with you. Finally, always let someone know where you're going and when you'll be back, and if you can, never fish alone," she said.

"This is 30 percent more than the 10-year average for this period. It's also only nine per cent fewer than the same period last year, when we experienced the worst Victorian drowning toll in more than 20 years. Any life lost is one too many and it's important to remember that while anyone can drown, no one should." Ms Kiss said.

For more information on ways to recreate around water safely during winter, head to Life saving Victoria's 'Summer safety' web page.

Pictures from Bass Coast Shire Council Facebook page.


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