Letters to the editor

Community rights vs council wrongs

Question: when does a community noticeboard cease to be a community noticeboard?

Answer: when council fails to properly maintain it and removes the glass doors to encourage deterioration in order to replace it with a lockable, council monitored noticeboard to restrict freedom of speech, as well as introducing draconian by-laws to prevent notices and signs being erected elsewhere without council approval.

The Heritage Community Noticeboard was erected by the business community in 1986 to celebrate our 150th jubilee year and should have been restored, not destroyed by council.

ALAN MORTIMER

Streaky Bay

Cooler weather no reason to forget water safety

While temperatures are starting to drop, it’s important for the SA community to remain just as vigilant about water safety as we are in warmer summer months.

While we see less swimming in cool weather, surfing, fishing, boating and paddle sports continue all year around.

Last year a staggering 116 people drowned across Australia’s coastal areas, including 10 people who tragically lost their lives in South Australia. Many of these deaths could have been prevented.

While we associate swimming and water sports with Australia’s enviable summer, almost two-thirds of drowning deaths around the country happen outside of summer.

More than a third of all drowning deaths also happen while people are boating or operating a watercraft and the main group of concern is adult men.

Men account for 83 per cent of coastal drowning deaths and they are rescued twice as often as women.

While medical conditions and rips are the biggest contributing factors, alcohol consumption is the third highest contributor.

Anything that reduces physical coordination and impedes good decision-making increases the likelihood of accidents and hinders a person’s effectiveness in survival situations.

While it sounds obvious to say that mixing alcohol and water activities is a bad idea, it keeps happening.

Just as the dangers of drink driving are rightly splashed everywhere, a focus needs to be put on the dangers of drinking and water activities to better educate the community about the risks.

Interestingly research also demonstrates that over confidence is a major issue with many people over estimating their swimming abilities.

In reality, 55 per cent of adults are unable to swim more than 50m without stopping and one in four Australians is unable to float for more than 10 minutes.

While Adelaide’s beaches can look deceptively calm, people can still get into trouble very quickly.

It’s important that people who are not strong swimmers, do not put themselves out of their comfort zone even in seemingly calm conditions.

It’s also important for people to take as many precautions as possible, such as checking weather conditions, carrying a charged mobile phone, downloading the Beachsafe app and wearing a lifejacket. These precautions are even more essential as surf lifesaving patrols have ended for the season.

All drownings are considered preventable so being prepared and alert is the best way to prevent tragedies.

With Adelaide’s hosting the 2018 World Lifesaving Championships later this year, there’s never been a better time to shine a spotlight on water safety.

Don’t let complacency about water safety set in with the cooler weather. Don’t become a casualty.

CONNY WILSON

Lifesaving World Championships event director