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how to reduce your chance of drowning on your camping trip


  • drowning is perhaps the most common outdoor activity lethality in Australia
  • ensure your children are kept safe at all times - keep an eye on them and ensure they wear flotation devices if they cannot swim

Don't drive through flood waters

  • practically every major flood event in Australia results in at least one death from someone optimistically or desperately thinking they can drive through a flooded stream safely
  • unless you know the area extremely well, are experienced with driving through such conditions and have all the necessary gear to escape safely if it fails - then DON'T DO IT!

Avoid getting stranded in cars or houses in a major flood event

  • in a major flood event, waters can rise very fast and catch you by surprise, especially if you are sleeping overnight
  • cars can float off a flooded road and then become submerged fully in a deep channel alongside the road

Don't be stupid and get injured in the water

  • diving into water that is too shallow risks fracturing your spine and quadriplegia
  • falling off cliffs is never a good idea
  • slipping on wet rocks and hitting your head or breaking your leg as you fall into a river
  • alcohol is a major factor in falls, injuries and drownings
  • don't go swimming in crocodile infested waters or in waters prone to lethal stingers
  • surfing in large waves increases the risk of being dumped headfirst onto the sand or rock bottom

Don't over-estimate your swimming abilities

  • those over 50 yrs old are most at risk from drowning often as their fitness and swimming abilities have declined with age without them recognising it
  • alcohol is a major contributor to being overly confident near water

Don't under-estimate water currents

  • this is particular problem for 4WD drivers who are crossing rivers
    • it does not take much water depth to cause a vehicle to float downstream
    • strength of the current is related to both current speed and depth of the water
    • unseen underwater dangers are an added issue:
      • deep holes
      • boulders on which your vehicle may become stuck
      • mud that your vehicle tyres sink into
  • many areas have strong currents even in seemingly calm lakes and these are often very cold adding to the risk - if there are warning signs - heed them!

Be on the look out for dangerous currents

Don't turn your back on the waves when on rocks

  • rock fishing and exploring large rocks where the waves pound has a special risk of unexpected very large, very infrequent rogue waves which are capable of washing you off the rocks into the turbulent sea
  • these waves are not from tsunamis but rather just a mathematical summation of the many competing wavelets travelling in the ocean
  • avoid such rocks where these waves may be a risk - especially with an incoming high tide

Know how to get out of a rip

  • if it is a patrolled beach raising your hand should signal for help if you cannot swim sideways to get out of it
  • swim across the current (sideways) and you will eventually get out of the rip
australia/drowning.txt · Last modified: 2022/10/25 17:14 by gary1

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