EACH person crammed into this pool represents a person who drowned in Australia the past year.
Each of the 249 individuals in this pool wants you to be safe about the water this summer.
School students, sporting clubs, emergency services, health workers, lifeguards and swim teachers from across Ballarat took the plunge to make a dramatic statement in the Ballarat Aquatic and Lifestyle Centre learn to swim pool this week.
BALC water education leader Leanne White said it was a sobering but timely reminder for parents to put their phones away on the pool deck and pay attention to their children – even with lifeguards on duty.
“We see it every day here at the aquatic centre, parents looking at their phones or grabbing a coffee in the Café. Our lifeguards are on duty to deal with emergencies, but it is the role of parents to prevent emergencies from happening,” Ms White said.
“We can’t stress enough how important it is to be actively supervising at all times.”
Ms White said a person could drown within 20 seconds in as little as 30 centimetres of water and taking your eyes off your child for a moment could lead to devastating consequences.
Drownings are on the decline in Ballarat. Life Saving Victoria’s latest drowning report shows eight deaths in the water the past decade and eight Ballarat residents drowned further afield in the state during the same time period.
But the number of Ballarat residents presenting to an emergency department from a near-drowning is up four people the past year. Two were admitted to hospital.
Men are now 50 per cent more likely to drown in Ballarat than women.
Lakes and inland waterways still remain the key danger areas for people in the Ballarat region, particularly for people in recreation activities near water.
BALC is re-launching its Watch Around Water campaign this Water Safety Week, requiring all children aged under five to be within arm’s reach of a parent or guardian (aged 16-plus) when near or in the water.
All children aged under five must wear a yellow arm band when in the water at BALC and all City of Ballarat outdoor pools this summer.
Children under 10 must be actively supervised at all times.
For those set to head down the coast this summer, Surf Life Saving Australia has a Beachsafe phone app to find your nearest patrolled beach. Every Australian beach is listed with updated surf conditions and warnings. The app also features beach safety tips.
LSV maintains it is best to find a patrolled beach and swim between the flags.
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