17 December 2023

Cool it with care: Water-wise tips for taking a dip

| Shri Gayathirie Rajen
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two men at the beach

Wagga Council recreation coordinator Josh Walsh with Royal Life Saving NSW Riverina manager Michael Dasey at Wagga Beach. Photo: Shri Gayathirie Rajen.

With the arrival of scorching temperatures and the school holidays come water safety reminders that can help avoid turning a festive time into a tragic one.

Wagga Wagga City Council and Royal Life Saving NSW (RLSNSW) are urging residents and visitors to stay vigilant around water this summer.

“If you’re going into the inland environment, avoid any dangerous and high-risk activities,” RLSNSW Riverina manager Michael Dasey said.

“Don’t go alone, don’t underestimate and don’t consume alcohol or drugs before engaging in aquatic activities.

“Have fun, but ensure it’s done with a fair degree of responsibility.”

Mr Dasey said there were several measures for people to be aware of, including not going into the water alone, knowing one’s limitations and abilities under the circumstances, and respecting the rivers and the environment because they can be dangerous.

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He said aquatic tragedies affected everyone in the community because they could be prevented.

Learning cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and completing a first aid course could give people the skills to help save a life, he said.

The council’s recreation and economic development manager Ben Creighton urged everyone to care for themselves around water.

“This summer, like every summer, we are reminding the community to be careful around the water,” Mr Creighton said.

“We would especially like to remind everyone of the risks when swimming or boating at the Murrumbidgee River.

“The river is unpredictable, with fast currents, cold water and underwater debris, all of which can create dangerous situations within seconds.”

Council recreation coordinator Josh Walsh reminded those using Wagga Beach not to misuse the life rings for personal use.

“We have two [life rings] at Wagga Beach and one down at The Rocks,” he said.

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General water safety tips:

  • Learn to swim
  • Teach children how to swim
  • Never swim alone
  • Avoid drugs and alcohol around water
  • Learn lifesaving skills
  • Adults should actively supervise children around water at all times.

Safety tips around natural waterways:

  • Check the conditions before entering the water
  • If it’s flooded, forget it
  • Always enter the water slowly, feet first
  • Take care on uneven or slippery water edges
  • Beware of submerged objects such as trees, branches, rocks and rubbish
  • Remember, the river can change hourly
  • Wear a life jacket.

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