Parents urged to talk about dam safety ahead of Easter holidays

18 Mar 2016

SunWater is urging parents to talk to their children about the dangers of trespassing and of taking risks at local waterways ahead of the Easter school holidays.

SunWater General Manager Operations, Tom Vanderbyl, says trespassing and engaging in dangerous behaviour around waterways is of particular concern over holiday periods.

“Public safety incidents involving teenagers and young adults increases significantly over the school holidays,” said Mr Vanderbyl.

“Unfortunately, young people can be overconfident in their judgement and not appreciate the dangers of entering a restricted area and of taking risks around waterways.”

A recent study for SunWater found that 50 per cent* of males aged 13 to 17 years old reported having been with friends to areas that they felt were not safe.

In addition, it was found that 31 per cent of young people believe it’s unlikely for an accident to happen in a restricted area.

The research was conducted as part of a new campaign to raise awareness of the dangers to young people taking risks in and around waterways.

A video has been produced for the campaign to highlight the potentially tragic consequences for teenagers taking risks in and around waterways. The storyline is a sobering reminder for young people to play safe and look after their mates.

“Too often we receive reports of young people ignoring safety signs and engaging in risky behaviour,” said Mr Vanderbyl.

“Dams, weirs and channels can be unpredictable and dangerous - particularly in more remote locations where there aren’t designated swimming areas.

Mr Vanderbyl added: “Everyone needs to stay vigilant. Read the warning signs, beware of hidden dangers and take care of the people around you.”

“Authorities will be patrolling waterways over the Easter break and a hefty on the spot fine could apply to anyone found trespassing or engaging in other unlawful behaviour.”

Tips for staying safe at dams, weirs and channels

  • Look for hidden dangers: Check for submerged stumps, rocks or weeds before entering water.
  • Keep a safe distance: stay at least 200 metres away from dam and weir walls.
  • Read the signs: they contain important information about hazards and restricted areas.
  • Remain aware: stay alert to potential dangers and keep a close eye on friends and family.

For more on SunWater’s water safety campaign and to watch the video, visit: www.sunwater.com.au/sustainability/water-safety

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SunWater Media Team
Phone: +61 7 3120 0047
Email: media@sunwater.com.au

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