THE Royal Life Saving Society Australia is urging people to "make the right call" in the lead up to Australia Day celebrations to prevent drowning and stay safe over the long weekend.
Research from the Royal Life Saving shows that the risk of drowning doubles on public holidays and drowning while under the influence of alcohol is also twice as likely on public holidays.
Royal Life Saving's operations manager Craig Roberts said Australia Day was a symbolic day in the nation's calendar that many people celebrated with family and friends, but it was important that everyone enjoy the day safely.
"Alcohol consumption in, on and around waterways increases risk-taking behaviour, reduces coordination, and impairs judgement, and too many Australian men in particular are drowning as a result," he said.
Mr Roberts said people tended to travel more to unfamiliar locations on public holidays, often to natural aquatic environments, such as inland waterways, which increased the risk of drowning due to changeable conditions and added risks such as geographical remoteness.
"We know that men continue to take unnecessary risks around the water, overestimating their ability and underestimating the risks," he said.
"This is why we launched our 'Make the Right Call' campaign.
"This campaign highlights a common sense approach to safety to prevent drowning so, this Australia Day, we're asking everyone to 'make the right call' to avoid the long weekend ending in tragedy.
"Our message is simple. Love the water. Enjoy the water. Do it safely.
"We want everyone to go out and have fun, but people need to be aware of the risks and take the necessary precautions to keep themselves and their mates safe. Drowning is wholly preventable."
Royal Life Saving recommends:
Avoiding alcohol around water. Stay out of the water if alcohol has been consumed. It is best to participate in aquatic activities before drinking any alcohol and not re-enter the water afterwards.
Wearing a lifejacket when boating or using watercraft. In the case of an emergency, wearing a lifejacket can increase a person's chance of survival by 50 per cent.
Avoiding swimming or recreating alone. This means that there will be someone around to call for help if required.