The hope of a safe summer for visitors and locals on the Hawkesbury River is behind a new high-visibility and multi-lingual safety campaign from Hawkesbury City Council.
New river safety signs have now been installed at Macquarie Park in Windsor. These signs were developed in consultation with Royal Life Saving NSW using best practise design, and internationally recognised safety symbols.
Versions of the signs have also been created in the five most common non-English languages for visitors to the Hawkesbury – Hindi, Punjabi, Simplified Chinese, Arabic and Filipino – which can be accessed by a QR Code via a smartphone.
Prior to Christmas, Hawkesbury City Council approached neighbouring councils to spread the message of safety on the Hawkesbury River. People from neighbouring Local Government Areas are the greatest source of tourism throughout the year. Messaging was also being provided to Western Sydney Regional Organisations of Councils (WSROC) to help promote it to Western Sydney in general.
“We are encouraging our nearby Councils to help make visitors to the Hawkesbury aware of the need to be safe around our many waterways, including the magnificent Hawkesbury River,” the Mayor of Hawkesbury, Councillor Sarah McMahon said.
Hawkesbury City Council is also conducting a multi-lingual awareness campaign on social media. The messages urge visitors to consider other fun activities around the river instead of swimming in local waterways. These include walking, camping, boating, fishing and picnics. Locals are also urged to consider visiting local pools over summer.
“This campaign is about raising awareness to save lives so that we can all have a wonderful summer without seeing tragedies like we have seen in the past,” the Mayor added.
“The water in the river can be unexpectedly cold, there are submerged trees and rocks and deceptively strong currents. Sometimes people may overestimate their swimming ability, or may have consumed alcohol before swimming, or may be unfamiliar with local conditions or recent changes to the river.
“Local rivers and other waterways can be dangerous places to swim, even for experienced swimmers. Unfortunately, drownings have occurred in local waterways over the years.”
For river safety advice see www.hawkesbury.nsw.gov.au/your-spaces/river-safety For important tips from Royal Life Saving NSW visit www.royallifesaving.com.au