More people drowning in still water than on coasts.
More people drowning in still water than on coasts. Tourism and Events Queensland

Leslie Dam just as dangerous as any rough coast

LACK of supervision, poor swimming skills and alcohol are leading to one of the deadliest drowning seasons in Queensland.

Seven people drowned across the state in the past four days, prompting police to tell summer revellers "if you can't swim, don't go in, it's as simple as that”.

Those taking to the water in Warwick are being told they're just as at risk as any seaside swimmer.

Between July 2002 and June 2016, 1045 people drowned in Australian rivers, creeks and streams, and Warwick boat licence trainer Andrew Gale said children were most at risk of dying in still water.

"Kids can fall into water and not scream or struggle,” Mr Gale said.

"Keep an eye on the kids and even if they're not swimming in the water, make sure they are wearing a life jacket.”

Just last year, a six-year-old girl tragically drowned at Leslie Dam.

"The younger they are, the less likely they are to realise they are in trouble,” Mr Gale said.

"They need to be able to swim and be water aware.”

Adam Bennett of Lake Leslie Tourist Park said one of his biggest concerns was people simply "not knowing what they were doing” on the water.

"Just because you have a boat licence or a jet ski, doesn't mean you're invincible on the water,” he said.

"You can do a four-hour course in a shed, but when you actually get on the water, it's a different story.”

He said alcohol and lack of life jackets were still issues he saw on Leslie Dam.

"About 90% of people are good, but there are still those who neglect proper water safety,” he said.

Mr Gale added those taking to the water would be "stupid” to do so without a life jacket.

"It's a dead-set no-brainer,” he said.

"When you wear a life jacket your chances of not drowning go through the roof.

"It's pretty cheap insurance.”

He said modern inflatable, life jackets were so compact and light, they were hardly a hassle to wear all day.

"Even if your child can swim, they need to be wearing a life jacket,” he said.

"You might know they can swim, but you don't know whether they can swim while shocked after falling out of a boat.”

Mr Gale warned anyone thinking of having a stubby and jumping on a boat should seriously reconsider.

"Water and alcohol do not go together,” he said.

"Have a drink while you're looking at the water, but not when you go in it.

"If there is an accident, and you're the one with alcohol in your system, you'll cop the blame.

"You don't want to be the one who is always blamed for causing a boat accident or killing your mate.”



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