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Don't Swim in Channels

Publish Date: 14/11/2017

The Don’t Swim in Channels campaign is currently underway, promoting the simple message – swimming in irrigation channels is dangerous and should never be attempted.

We want children, families and members of our community to stay safe around irrigation channels.

When the weather is hot many people look for a place to swim, but channels are not the place to cool off.

According to the Royal Life Saving National Drowning Report 2017 there were 97 drowning deaths in inland waterways between 1 July 2016 and 30 June 2017.

This included five children who were between five and nine years old, and 16 people who were aged between 18 and 24.

Swimming in channels is dangerous because they pose a range of hidden risks.

While a channel might look still and calm, there could be:

  • strong undercurrents
  • hidden pipes
  • weeds and debris
  • varying depths
  • regulator gates that can open and close quickly
  • drains
  • submerged trees, sandbars and rocks

Channels also pose a danger to pets. They can get tangled in weeds or tree branches. Never allow your pet to swim in a channel.

The Royal Life Saving National Drowning Report 2017 helps to provide context around why it is never a good idea to swim in channels.

When the weather is hot, we encourage families and community members to swim at a supervised location like our outdoor swimming pools which will open on Friday 1 December.

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