Royal Life Saving has launched a new campaign in response to research showing that almost 2000 men have drowned in the past decade, one in four involving alcohol.
Men are four times more likely to drown than women, with males accounting for 80 per cent of all drowning deaths.
More than half of the men who drowned with alcohol in their systems were in inland waterways, the research said.
In the decade to June 30 last year, 1932 males older than 15 drowned, and of those who had been drinking when they drowned, 66 per cent recorded a blood alcohol reading of 0.06, higher than the limit to drive a car.
The Royal Life Saving ‘Don’t Let Your Mates Drink and Drown’ campaign is urging men to look out for each other, and to avoid alcohol consumption before and during swimming, boating and fishing in order to prevent further lives being lost to drowning.
Life Saving Victoria chief executive Nigel Taylor said the culture of drinking around water meant men were at greater risk of drowning.
‘‘We all know that men are prone to taking unnecessary risks and over-estimating their abilities, but after a few drinks this can be life threatening,’’ he said.
‘‘This culture of drinking while swimming, boating or fishing means men are at greater risk of drowning.
‘‘The campaign encourages men to look out for their mates by avoiding alcohol around water, and keeping them out of trouble if they’ve been drinking and decide to go for a swim or take the boat for a spin.’’