Unnecessary risks, alcohol biggest cause of male drowning deaths

Australian men are drowning at five times the rate of women because of unnecessary risks around water, new research has revealed.

New Royal Life Saving Society data has revealed 2855 Australians drowned over the past decade, but 80 percent of them were male.

Of the deaths that involved men, 32 per cent involved alcohol and more than three occurred in inland waterways including rivers, lakes, creeks and dams.

Royal Life Saving Society said significant amounts of alcohol caused the deaths.

“We find that men, particularly when under the influence of alcohol, are more likely to take unnecessary risks,” Royal Life Saving Society chief executive Justin Scarr said.

“(They) overestimate their abilities, show off for friends and family and underestimate the dangers our waterways present.”

Mr Scarr said the risk of drowning was increased while under the influence, reducing coordination and increasing delayed reaction time.

Other risks included swimming alone and not wearing lifejackets in the water.

The research came as Royal Life Saving Society has launched a new advertising campaign, encouraging men to make safer choices around water.

The “Make the Right Call” campaign will run across radio, TV and social media.

“We’ve all got mates that are prone to showing off, who drink a little too much around water,” Mr Scarr said.

“We’re really trying to target men to look after their mates.”

The organisation said it was important to stay safe by avoiding drinking alcohol around water bodies, wearing a lifejacket when using watercraft and avoid swimming alone.

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