The impact of a death by drowning on a small community like the North-West Coast can be devastating, says Surf Life Saving Tasmania operations manager Boyd Griggs.
And not only for the community, he says, but for those performing the rescue.
“More than likely people attending areas like the North-West know the people they are rescuing,” he said.
“It has a bit of a double impact in that sense … The mental health of our members is very important.”
For Mr Boyd, the fact that Tasmania has only had five coastal drowning incidents in the last year is a small piece of hope in an “awful” tragedy.
“It’s an awful situation,” he said.
“But certainly one of the positives … is that the trend has remained low.
“At the same time, for Tassie there was 117 rescues. And on top of that were 145 first aid treatments.”
In other news:
He said the number of preventative actions – including conversations with beachgoers about safe spots to swim – were less flashy, but a point of pride for SLST.
“The higher we can keep those numbers the lower the amount of drownings,” he said.
His comments follow reports released yesterday by Australia’s peak water safety bodies, which revealed a total of six people died from drowning in Tasmania last year.
All of them were men.
The reports, released by Royal Life Saving Australia and Surf Life Saving Australia, recorded an increase in drownings in 2019/20 from the previous year’s total of four.
Five of the deaths were coastal deaths. Three of these were caused by a fall, One occurred while a man was scuba diving and the other was the result of a jet ski incident.
All the coastal deaths occurred more than five kilometres away from a surf life saving service, the Surf Life Saving National Coastal Safety Report said.
The sixth death occurred near Derby in June this year, after a 67-year-old man was swept away by the Ringarooma River.