West Aussie men urged to Make The Right Call this Easter

1 April 2021

Boating and fishing continue to be popular recreational activities for many Western Australians, however, latest drowning figures show that over the past ten years, 88 people have lost their lives while boating or fishing in WA with people over the age of 45 years at the greatest risk. In the lead up to the Easter long weekend, Royal Life Saving is urging boaters and fishers to Make the Right Call when it comes to safety. Lauren Nimmo, Senior Manager at Royal Life Saving says “the Easter long weekend is typically a popular time for people to head out on their boat or to their favourite fishing spot, but it’s not a time to be complacent when it comes to safety. While many Aussies have spent a lifetime around the water and no doubt have their own safety tips and tricks, it is important to remember that serious injuries can happen in the water, sometimes when you least expect it!”

Rob Osborne with rescuer Chris ChappellMen are particularly at risk of drowning, and on average they account for 80% of drowning deaths across Australia each year. One man who made a lucky escape from a drowning incident in the Swan River is Rob Osborn. Rob, an experienced sailor, was taking part in the Governor’s Cup Yacht Race on the Swan River when he fell overboard from his yacht on the final turn in Matilda Bay. Rob, who wasn’t wearing a lifejacket at the time, says it was a very close call “It was chaotic and my own crew couldn’t get back to rescue me. I had already gone under the water twice and was really struggling. I knew that if I went under again that was going to be it and I wasn’t coming back up.” Chris Chapple was on another yacht as part of the race and fortunately spotted Rob in the water. “We knew that we had to help him so we turned around, grabbed him and dragged him up onto the deck.”

Rob was very fortunate to come out of the incident with just bruises, but sadly that’s not the case for many other boaters who aren’t wearing a lifejacket when they get in trouble. A recent report revealed that more than two thirds of people involved in a boating-related drowning weren’t wearing a lifejacket at the time. Lauren Nimmo says “it is concerning that despite continued education, many people are failing to take their safety seriously when out boating by not wearing a lifejacket. Lifejackets are the most important piece of safety equipment when boating or fishing and while it’s great to have them on your boat in case of an emergency, if you are not wearing one, it cannot save your life. With the recent rock fishing incidents on the south coast, people should consider wearing a lifejacket when fishing from the rocks.”

Royal Life Saving WA continues to run the Old4New Lifejacket campaign to give boaters the opportunity to upgrade their old, damaged or obsolete lifejackets to new slim line inflatable lifejackets at a discounted price. Lauren Nimmo says, “lifejackets aren’t what they used to be. The uncomfortable bulkiness of lifejackets is out the window and by making these new slimline inflatable jackets more accessible, we are hoping that more boaters will wear their lifejacket when out on the water.” So, if you’re planning to head out on a boat with mates or go fishing at your favourite spot, Make the Right Call and wear a lifejacket. It’s the right thing to do!

Make the Right Call key safety tips:

  • KNOW THE CONDITIONS – make sure you regularly check local weather and water conditions
  • KNOW YOUR LIMITS – alcohol and water don’t mix / if you’re taking medication, check with your doctor before jumping in
  • KNOW YOUR GEAR – wear a lifejacket and take a mate
  • KNOW WHAT TO DO – learn lifesaving skills


Make the Right Call is delivered in partnership with the Western Australian Department of Health.

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