Researcher and Lecturer – University of New South Wales

Communicating the need to swim between the flags and having patrolled beaches is important and a vital part of preventing drowning. Conversely, rivers are the leading location of drownings, and we don’t have the benefit of years of education, life-saving clubs, and lifeguarded locations where it is safe to swim. Our work on media communication has shown that it’s partly because people just don’t hear about drowning at these locations. When it doesn’t happen in the cities or along the coast, it’s not reported as often in the media. Rivers are the area of highest risk, but are not perceived as such, because they don’t benefit from the funding, the awareness, and the preventative strategies.