WEARERS ARE SURVIVORS: Plea to stay safe this holiday
IT’S A story councillor Andrew Gale has heard too often.
Residents enjoying a day out on Leslie Dam, when without warning or time to grab a life jacket, they capsize.
Luckily, on most occasions, they can reach safety, but for the few who don’t, it’s a preventable tragedy which will stay with their families for the rest of their lives.
It was why, ahead of these September school holidays, the boat instructor wanted residents to use common sense next time they hopped on-board.
“If you were in a motor vehicle accident, and weren’t wearing a seatbelt, you obviously wouldn’t have time to grab it. It’s the same here,’ he said.
“The time to put protective equipment on is when you get in that vehicle.”
Cr Gale’s warning comes as four people lost their lives in boating accidents this month alone.
Recent data also reveals a shocking trend when it comes to Queenslanders and boat safety.
Of the 14 who drowned or went missing last year, only one was known to be wearing a lifejacket.
Of the 113 people who have drowned during marine incidents over the past 20 years, only five were known to have been wearing one.
It was this alarming trend Cr Gale wanted to see public awareness end.
“There’s been a lot of media about someone being killed by a shark this week, the first fatality in over 60 years, when the real the killer in the water is not wearing a life jacket,” he said.
“It’s an absolute no-brainer. In my experience, people who wear life jackets are survivors.”
Currently, there are limitations on whom in Queensland is mandated to wear a life jacket.
Only those in boats under 4.8m in length, boats underway or children under 12 are legally obligated.
Cr Gale continued to petition the State Government to widen these rules or introduce those similar to NSW, such as mandatory life jackets for all solo boat users.
But in the meantime, his message was simple.
“Don’t let a fun activity turn into a horrible tragedy that affects everybody.”