You wouldn't let a mate drive when they've had a skinful, so why let them get in the water? And if you don't think it's dangerous, think again. A staggering 1995 Australian men have lost their lives by drowning in the last decade (that's four times the number of women), 37% of them with drugs and/or alcohol in their system.
87 of those deaths were in Tasmania alone, with 45% known to have involved intoxicants of one kind or another.
Why so many blokes? Well, we're idiots, aren't we? Especially when we've got a drink inside us. Where we might just have had enough common sense sober, we suddenly think we're Superman after a few bevvies.
To raise awareness of this issue, Royal Life Saving Society Australia has launched Don’t Let Your Mates Drink and Drown in time for summer. The campaign is urging men to look out for their mates and call out the sorts of risk-taking behaviour that can lead to accidents and drowning.
“Look out for your mates, leave the booze until safely away from the water, and pull them into line if they’re under the influence and thinking about swimming or boating. You can literally save their life.”
- Justin Scarr, Royal Life Saving Society Australia
Take the case of Matt Naysmith. He was just 21 when his life was changed forever by a completely avoidable accident.
Having booked an around-the-world ticket, Matt and a group of friends spent the day at Karijini National Park to celebrate.
Matt was drunk when he ignored warning signs and climbed to the top of a waterfall. Tragically, he slipped and was sent hurtling over the edge and into the gorge, landing heavily on rocks, breaking his neck and severing his spinal cord. He was told he would never walk again.
Matt’s life changed in that fateful moment. “My injury took me from ‘living’ a great life to becoming a spectator in an instant; it's like sitting on the sidelines - you know what you want to do and you know how to do it but you just can't,” said Matt.
Matt says he never should have been drinking around water in the first place, being known by friends for making ‘stupid decisions’ under the influence of alcohol.
“A series of poor decisions that I made that day took away so many things that I treasured in life, including travel, relationships, lifestyle, and freedom. Don’t make the same mistake.”
- Matt Naysmith
We all know guys like Matt who do stupid stuff under the influence. The message here is, it's really not cool to let them.
Now you know what not to do, here's our pick of Hobart's best swimming spots:
1: Clifton Beach, About 25km southeast from Hobart on the South Arm Peninsula. The beach is around 2.1km long and is backed by a large coastal reserve. Popular, but it is known to be a dangerous beach as well.
2: Long Beach, a narrow 150m beach smack bang in the middle of Sandy Bay. This is what you would call a city beach! Fun fact, in the early days the beach was used for horse-racing!
3: Kingston Beach, Tasmania, A suburb of Hobart with a beach that has all the facilities you would need. A dog beach, bike park, bbq area, sailing club, playgrounds and various shops and eateries.
Stay safe and enjoy the summer!