darren.chester.mp@aph.gov.au 1300 131 785
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November 30, 2012

The Nationals Member for Gippsland Darren Chester has cautioned against alcohol consumption around water this summer.

This week’s release of the 2011-12 Victorian Drowning Report showed that 27 per cent of drowning deaths involved alcohol consumption. There was also an increase in the number of drowning deaths with a total of 37 for the 12 month period and more than half of the drowning deaths occurred in inland waterways.

Mr Chester is a founding member of the Parliamentary Friends of Surf Life Saving Group and volunteers as a Water Safety Officer at local surf lifesaving carnivals over the summer period.

He said the report highlighted how important it was to refrain from mixing alcohol with water activities and the need for vigilance around all forms of water.

“It is concerning that despite numerous warnings and water education, alcohol is still prevalent in more than a quarter of drowning deaths,” Mr Chester said.

“Young men in particular need to take more care and not put themselves in dangerous situations or take unnecessary risks around water, especially when alcohol is involved.

“The fact that more people drown in rivers, creeks, lakes and streams than at the beach is a reminder to all of us that extra vigilance is required around all forms of water with many drowning deaths preventable.”

Mr Chester said he expected a large number of local residents and visitors to flock to Gippsland beaches this summer.

“Our surf lifesaving volunteers all do a fantastic job in keeping local beaches safe and I urge anyone visiting a patrolled beach this summer to take their advice and swim between the flags,” Mr Chester said.

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