Community members and tourists alike are being warned to stay safe and cautious around inland waterways with summer now underway.
Although there is a main focus on water safety in swimming pools and the ocean, research indicates 1,087 people have died from drowning in Australian rivers, creeks and streams in the past 15 years.
Royal Life Saving Australia launched the Respect the River program in 2015, with a focus on inland water safety.
Figures from the organisation highlight there has been an 18 per cent reduction in river drowning deaths since the program launched.
“We want everyone to enjoy these beautiful natural environments but to do so safely, by showing rivers the respect they deserve,” government and industry relations general manager Paul Shannon said.
Males represented the highest portion of inland drownings, making up 80 per cent of deaths, with 56 per cent of those with alcohol or drugs in their system at the time.
It was only earlier this year in January when a 28-year-old man drowned at MacKenzie Falls in the Grampians.
The Taiwanese national who lived in Australia fell into the water at the popular tourist spot where swimming is prohibited.
Parks Victoria district manager Gavan Mathieson said it is important for people to realise the dangers of the natural environment in the national park.
“Summer is a busy time at the Grampians National Park, and we’ll have more Park Rangers out-and-about to help people enjoy their visit,” he said.
“While waterfalls and other waterways are appealing, it’s important for people to remember that there can be hidden dangers in the natural environment.
“Mackenzie Falls is an example and somewhere that we’ve increased signage stating that swimming is dangerous and not permitted.
“People need to consider their own safety, their own abilities, and take care out in the natural environment.”
Although tourists are commonly stereotyped as ones to find trouble in the water, the Royal Life Saving Australia research shows 74 per cent of people who drowned in rivers were locals to the area, residing within 100 kilometres of where they drowned.
Swimmers are being urged to look after one another and not overestimate their ability.