Central Highlands CR Alan McIndoe at the top weir in Emerald.
Central Highlands CR Alan McIndoe at the top weir in Emerald. CHRC

Safety tips heading up to summer

WITH summer fast approaching, everyone is looking for a way to keep cool.

Our region is full of great places to swim, but some of them are more dangerous than others.

The Central Highlands Regional Council, SunWater and the Emerald Police are teaming up to spread the word about the risks of trespassing and the potential hazards when visiting dams, weirs and water channels.

SunWater launched a safety campaign for the initiative earlier this year.

Senior Sergeant Peter McFarlane said it was important with summer coming up for the public be aware of the dangers of swimming in local waterways.

"The weirs, in particular, present dangers with under currents and debris that can't be seen,” Snr Sgt McFarlane said.

"Heavy rainfall causes the weirs to overflow, and fast.

"It was only a few years ago where we saw a terrible accident that resulting in a man drowning at the top weir due to a strong undercurrent.

"I urge all parents to speak with their children about the dangers of swimming around weirs and also discourage jumping from bridges and other water infrastructure, as the last thing our community needs is a tragic accident this summer season.”

Snr Sgt McFarlane also reminded residents that some areas are illegal to swim in, due to exclusion zones.

Councillor Alan McIndoe echoed his advice, encouraging parents to make sure their kids understand the hidden dangers and the meaning behind warning signs.

"It's about community and child safety,” he said.

"Council and SunWater have put these signs in place for a reason, but they're no good if young people don't take them seriously and just ignore them.

"I have teenage kids, I know what they can be like.

"I know sometimes it fells like you're talking to a brick wall. But what may seem like a bit of harmless fun around a weir or dam can end in absolute devastation as we've seen before.

"Take the time, have a chat and set a good example.

"There are heaps of great places to safely go swimming in our region, so why would you risk it?”

Safety tips

  • Look for hidden dangers
  • Check for submerged stumps, rocks or weeds before entering
  • Keep a safe distance - stay at least 200 metres away from dam and weir walls
  • Read the signs - the contain important information about hazards and restricted areas
  • Remain safe - stay alert to potential dangers and keep a close eye on friends and family

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