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Drownings in Victoria have hit a 10-year high with nine people losing their lives since the start of summer, including three at Phillip Island, according to the Royal Life Saving Summer Drowning Toll. The latest death was reported yesterday afternoon at Cowes.

In his role as a Drowning Prevention Ambassador for the Royal Life Saving Society, The Nationals Member for Gippsland Darren Chester has urged everyone to take extra care around water this summer.

“My family and I have been involved with the Lakes Entrance Surf Life Saving Club for many years,” Mr Chester said. “I believe everyone who goes to the beach, is near our waterways or having fun at a swimming pool should know how to stay safe and how to help others if they get into trouble.

“Drowning deaths occur throughout the year, but peak as the weather warms up. I want to urge everyone to take care and stay vigilant as they head out to enjoy the water these holidays.

“Our rivers are the leading location for drownings in Australia, but you must stay vigilant wherever you are around water, including at the beach, lakes or pools. The tragic drownings reported this summer are a sombre reminder of the danger.”

On New Year’s Day, the Coalition Government announced an additional $3 million would be available to help reduce drownings and near-deaths. Surf life saving clubs and other water safety organisations will be able to use the money to buy new rescue equipment, first aid and medical supplies, or new technology such as drones to monitor unpatrolled beaches.

According to the Royal Life Saving Society’s National Drowning Report 2017, nearly 75% of all people who drowned in Australia were male and most lives were lost in our rivers, creeks and streams.

The report also shows 291 people drowned in Australia last financial year, including 45 in Victoria. Over the same time, 685 people were hospitalised across the nation following non-fatal drowning incidents.

The report showed a quarter of drownings occurred while people were swimming or playing in water. Sixteen percent died as a result of falling into water and 13% drowned while boating.

To help prevent drowning, the Royal Life Saving Society recommends you:

• don’t swim alone
• wear a lifejacket when using watercraft
• supervise children
• learn CPR, first aid and lifesaving skills, and
• avoid alcohol around water.

For more information, visit

To read the National Drowning Report in full, visit

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