Be swim-safe over the holidays
By Gabriel Garcia
Thompson’s Beach is one of my favourite parts of the CobramBarooga area.
Swimming there on a weekend is relaxing, and the experience of having the current take me down the beach is quite enjoyable.
However, though beautiful, Thompson’s Beach can be deadly.
This is why I urge anyone planning to cool off there this summer to know how to swim, know their limitations and respect the environment.
Before becoming a journalist, I was a swimming instructor and lifeguard for 11 years.
I cannot tell you how often I dealt with overconfident students, both children and adults, in that role.
In waterways across Australia, overconfidence can lead to tragedy.
As a lifeguard, I have lost count of the amount of people I pulled from the water.
Many of those were confident, experienced swimmers.
Some of the younger ones I pulled out lacked an adult’s supervision.
The Murray magnifies any risk of drowning or going wrong tenfold with cold temperatures, dangerous undercurrents and submerged objects all threatening swimmers.
There is also the risk of swimming too far out and being hit by a boat or jet ski.
A head bobbing on the water’s surface can be nearly invisible to someone operating a boat.
The Royal Life Saving Australia 2023 National Drowning report highlighted that 281 people drowned in Australian waterways in 12 months, with more than three-quarters being males.
More than half of those who drowned were aged 45 or older. These are sobering statistics. So, if you are out on the Murray this year, be careful.
Look out for children in your care and know your limits.
JUST FOR FUN