Terrible case in NSW a week or so ago when children watched their parents drown at a surf beach. There have been a huge number of drownings this and last year. Record numbers even. Drownings cause the highest rate of death for under five year olds.
I have almost drowned, twice. The first time I would have been about eight years old. I was at the Oakleigh swimming pool under the supervision of my grandparents, neither of who swam to my knowledge. I simply lost my balance and fell over backwards. I panicked and flailed my arms wildly while trying to regain my balance. I was going backwards and heading to the deep end of the pool where the water would be over my head. A man noticed me in trouble and stood me up, helped me out of the pool and took me to my grandparents. Seems so silly because I could swim.
The other time I was much older and in the surf at Woodside Beach in South Gippsland. Slowly I was being dragged out to sea and I was getting very tired fighting against the waves. I was starting to feel a bit panicky. Calm calm, I told myself. Remember, don't swim against the waves, swim with them and to the side. It was a decent walk back along the beach to where I had entered the water but by swimming nearly parallel to the beach, I came to some water that almost carried me in without much effort on my part. Just as well as I was exhausted.
If someone is a non swimmer, it is very dangerous to do anymore than just paddle in the water. In the past I would have said at surf beaches, but even our relatively calm Port Phillip Bay gets it share of victims. I am not sure if swimming is compulsory in our government schools as it used to be, but it damn well ought to be. There also needs to be plenty of warnings to overseas students who have never learnt to swim. Lastly, no matter how good your swimming skills are, you can still get caught out.