Volunteer passionate about water safety message for Leavers

23 November 2015

Around 9000 leavers have descended on Rottnest and Dunsborough today for the start of the annual Leavers celebrations. With almost half of all Leavers already 18 years old this year there are concerns alcohol could be more of a problem than it has been in recent Leavers weeks.

Curtin University has surveyed 480 leavers about their intentions in regard to alcohol, and the teens predict they will each consume up to 8 alcoholic drinks per day during this week's celebrations.

The Royal Life Saving Society WA is urging leavers to consider the potential consequences of consuming alcohol in, on or near the water through the Don't Drink and Drown campaign.

The impact of alcohol and drowning amongst young people aged 15-24 remains a significant issue in Western Australia. On average four young people will lose their life to drowning and a further 10 will be hospitalised following a non-fatal drowning incident each year in our state, many of whom will have devastating, ongoing health issues as the result of brain damage and spinal cord injury. Overall alcohol contributes to 30% of these incidents.

22 Don't Drink and Drown volunteers are attending the celebrations on Rottnest and at Dunsborough taking the water safety message to Leavers. Their aim is to encourage Leavers to think about the consequences of mixing alcohol and water activities.

Kymberley Doig is a Don't Drink and Drown Ambassador and has volunteered at Leavers celebrations, school presentations and other youth events over the past five years.  She says it's vital that Leavers look after themselves and their mates during the week long party.  "What if you are totally safe but you're too drunk to help your best mate or sibling who gets into trouble and is drowning?  You just can't imagine the feeling of being totally unable to help them because you don't have the capabilities due to the alcohol!"

You can hear Kymberley's thoughts on Leavers here.