ACCIDENTAL slips and trips are creating a troubling trend by the water in Victoria, accounting for almost half of drowning deaths in the past year.
Life Saving Victoria has renewed warnings to play it safe this summer on the back of Victoria's highest drowning toll in 20 years.
This includes the death of a 27-year-old New Zealand man who fell into the water at MacKenzie Falls after 5pm last Boxing Day. MacKenzie Falls is a popular tourist attraction where swimming is not allowed.
A Taiwanese national, who lived in Australia, also died at the falls in late January last year. A witness said he fell from a rock where he had been with friends.
The New Zealand man's death takes the wider Ballarat region's drowning toll up to nine deaths in the past decade. Men are now twice as more likely to drown in the Ballarat region than women.
Life Saving Victoria research manager Rhiannon Birch said there was a 49 per cent increase for people drowning in inland waterways across the state, many whom did not intend to enter the water.
With men consistently at a higher drowning risk than women in regional Victoria, Ms Birch urged males to look out for each other and to always wear a life jacket. Alcohol remains a key contributing factor.
Statewide, males are four times more likely to drown than females.
As Ballarat residents plan their annual beach holidays in the Christmas-New Year period, they are warned there was also a dramatic 46 per cent spike in deaths in the state's oceans and coastal waterways last summer.
Regional Victorians remain twice as likely to drown than metropolitan counterparts.
The report shows two Ballarat residents drowned within the state outside the Ballarat region last year but did not disclose whether these deaths were inland or coastal.
Police and Emergency Services Minister Lisa Neville has launched a shock water safety campaign, told from a first-person perspective, focusing on the fear of drowning. The campaign particularly targets men.
LSV is set to deploy new drones to help monitor waterways and an expanded jet-ski patrol service. Volunteer lifesavers started returning to Victorian beaches at the weekend.
State pool restrictions also came into play on Sunday.
Under the new rules, pool and spa owners will have six months from December 1 to pay and register their pool with their local council. This includes portable wading pools with a depth capacity for more than 30 centimetres' water if left filled for more than three days.
Pool fencing must be compliant to the new legislation at the owners' cost.
Melbourne media is reporting most councils across the state were still waiting for further details on the policy.
Planning Minister Richard Wynne has said the legislation was introduced in a bid to curb drownings, predominantly children, die to faulty and broken fences in private pools.
The laws came as a response to shocking figures of 25 children who drowned between 2000 and 2017 unsupervised in swimming pools or spas, according to a series of coronial findings.
New supervision methods for children in public pools across Ballarat have also come into effect from Sunday.
There must be one adult per two children aged under-five years old and one adult per four children aged five to 10.
City of Ballarat has made clear families who do not have enough adults to actively supervise children in and around the water will not be able to enter swimming facilities. This includes Ballarat Aquatic and Lifestyle Centre.
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