‘The Derwent is ranked No.8 in the country’s top 10 most dangerous inland waterways, with 12 victims since 2001,’ said David Beniuk in his article “Don’t run the risk in rivers”, published in The Sunday Tasmanian yesterday.
He explained that ‘Tasmanians are being reminded of the dangers of their beautiful, but potentially deadly rivers in a national campaign.’
The Royal Life Saving Society says ‘We are a state that absolutely loves our waterways … But our inland waterways, in terms of drowning fatalities, are really where it’s happening in Tasmania. The perception is that the still waters of a river are calm and are safe. But it’s what we don’t see and don’t know, things like ice cold water, snags, things like tree branches as well as river currents, that often get people without notice.’
Beniuk reports that ‘The state registered the highest per capita rate in the country, with men over 55 at risk.’ He noted a number of things we can do which offer protection: ‘wearing a regularly serviced life jacket, avoiding alcohol, never swimming alone, knowing the area, telling people where and when you’re going and learning first aid.’ In addition, ‘checking weather conditions and the Maritime and Safety Tasmania website were also important.’
This article was timely; over the weekend a friend urged me to stay with my decision not to canoe/kayak down the Derwent River. As I mentioned in a recent post, a strong fit male family friend canoed down a short section and had never been so frightened. I got the message then.