Be A Mermate to prevent drowning

27 November 2019

Young people remain at high risk of drowning with the second highest drowning rate of any age group in WA. Last year saw the highest number of fatal drownings involving young people aged 15-24 in our state recorded in the past five years.

A young man dressed as a mermaid sitting on a chair by a poolLauren Nimmo, Royal Life Saving WA says, “despite ongoing education over many years, young people are still not getting the message. They continue to participate in unsafe behaviours around the water such as cliff jumping, boating without a lifejacket, overestimating their ability and underestimating the dangers placing not only themselves but their friends at higher risk of drowning.”

Alcohol continues to be an issue amongst this age group, with 37% of drowning deaths of those who drowned having alcohol in their system, which is the highest of any age group. Lauren Nimmo says “we continue to be concerned by the influence alcohol has on drowning amongst young people, particularly young males. There has been great success in reducing drink driving on our roads, but rates of drinking whilst swimming or boating remain frighteningly high.”

In response to this, Royal Life Saving WA has launched a new campaign encouraging young people to ‘Be A Mermate’ and lure their friends away from danger when around the water. Lauren Nimmo says “while previous campaigns have been hard hitting and focussed on raising awareness of the dangers of mixing alcohol and water activities, this new campaign takes a more humorous approach and looks to engage young people in the conversation and provide them with the confidence to speak up when their mates are being unsafe around the water. By giving them practical tips for how to talk their mates out of danger, we are hoping to create a powerful way to turn peer-to-peer messaging into action.”A man dressed as a mermaid laying on a blanket by the river

“No longer will mermaids be relegated to mythical realms, they will start appearing in everyday places, like in suburban backyards, on fishing trips and while having a BBQ down by the river. Here, they will lure their mates away from danger and towards safety. Through our campaign, we will give young people the tools to do the same. It’s not about being the ‘fun police’ – a true Mermate can look after their mates and keep the party going”

The campaign will be run on catch up and streaming television and social media channels throughout the summer period. Losing a mate to drowning is not something you want on your head. So, we’re asking young people to wear their heart on their sleeve. Be the sensible voice in your crew. Put your friends first and lure them from danger. Be a Mermate!