Seqwater today launched a safety campaign warning the community about the dangers of swimming in weirs and fast flowing water.

The weir safety campaign, with the new slogan ‘Don’t get sucked in’, urges the public, especially young people, to be aware of the potentially fatal consequences of swimming in weirs and flooded waterways.

Seqwater Chief Executive Officer, Terri Benson said the campaign was an important element of drowning prevention and education, and the launch’s timing was particularly pertinent in the lead up to summer and the wet season.

“During periods of heavy rain, an overflowing weir becomes a death trap,” Ms Benson said.

“Increased water volume and pressure can force people underwater - making rescue almost impossible. 

“Weirs are designed and built to regulate water flow—they’re not for swimming.

“Many people fail to realise that swimming skills have little to do with surviving a flooded weir,” Ms Benson said. 

“The facts are that it only takes ankle deep water to knock you off your feet, and only 60 seconds to drown – not even enough time for someone to call triple zero.

“Educating young people to ‘rethink’ their behaviour is vital to preventing future drowning tragedies in weirs.”

Seqwater is responsible for 47 weirs along with 26 dams and 46 operational water treatment plants across South East Queensland.

Ms Benson said safety at these assets is a priority for Seqwater.

“The ‘Don’t get sucked in’ safety campaign has been designed to highlight the fact that weirs are often in secluded places that are not patrolled or supervised by anyone,” Ms Bensonsaid. 

The campaign has been developed with input and support from Hannah’s Foundation - Australia’s leading drowning prevention, awareness and support group, Queensland Fire and Rescue Service and Emergency Management Queensland.

Social media targeted directly at local youth will be a focus of the campaign, in addition to a mix of print and cinema advertising, and signs at key weir locations.

Hannah’s Foundation Executive Officer, Katherine Plint said ongoing education about the risks around water is vital to the prevention of drowning accidents.

“Unfortunately, a lot of the programs and advertising out there focuses on what to do once you find yourself in a drowning situation,” Mrs Plint said.

“The reality is swimming won’t save your life and CPR fails 93% of the time.

“Prevention is the best defence, and we must educate the public, especially children, about the poor choices that people sometimes make when it comes to water safety.

“This weir safety campaign is a positive step in giving people the knowledge and tools to make the right decisions when it comes to water safety – saving lives and avoiding unnecessary deaths as a result.”

Further education sessions will be rolled out at schools in the coming weeks ahead of summer and the wet season.

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