Horror drowning season sparks call to respect water

ANDREW Plint hasn't seen a year for drowning like the current one in something like eight years.

It has been a horror summer season and 2016 was a horror year for both adult and child drownings.

Mr Plint is the co-founder of Hannah's Foundation, an organisation based out of Laidley that offers support and advice for families affected by drowning death as well as advocating for prevention and education.

He and wife Kat started it after their three-year-old daughter Hannah drowned after slipping out of sight for just three minutes.

Mr Plint said the spate in New South Wales of 15 drowning deaths was a particularly shocking figure, not least because many of the deaths were contributed to by adults making "poor choices".

The organisation has been run off its feet in recent days and Mr Plint said it was the worst year for drownings he had seen since 2008.

He called for the community to respect the dangers of water recreation no matter their age.

"One thing I see so often that frustrates me is pretty much you go anywhere and you see the kids all wearing life jackets but the adults aren't," he said.

"People say to me 'I'm only going out 100m from shore so I don't need one', but I then ask them when the last time was that they swam that far and most of them can't remember.

"Whether you can swim or not doesn't mean you can't drown."

He said a vital skill was being able to roll over in the water and float, and a life jacket made that a lot easier, particularly in incidents where the person is hurt entering the water.

"Drowning is not caused by a lack of ability to swim, but rather a lack of oxygen.

"If you can roll on your back, all you need is air to survive."

He also pleaded with people reading stories about drowning incidents to be less judgmental when families are already going through hell.

He said people were quick to jump on comment streams and offer uneducated and awful opinions when drownings really can be faultless tragedies.

Topics:  drowning drowning prevention hannah's foundation toowoomba water safety

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