Beach "bravado" killing Aussie men, report says

Fri Oct 9, 2009 2:22am EDT
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CANBERRA (Reuters Life!) - Myths surrounding the bronzed, surf-savvy Aussie may be killing Australian men, who are nine times more likely to drown than women during a seaside trip, a new report says.

"Arrogance, bravado and an inflated sense of their surf swimming ability are a lethal combination," Surf Life Saving Australia spokesman Matt Thompson said on Friday while releasing a new report into beach and swimming safety.

The report also found a massive increase in shark encounters off popular beaches, with 20 reported incidents so far this year, which does not bode well for the busy summer months ahead.

The report, published in a bid to reduce drowning deaths, found young men between the ages of 30 and 39 were most at risk, with reckless swimming outside areas patrolled by lifesavers and strong currents the main causes of beach drownings.

"Guys have got to wake up to themselves and do the right thing, and be safe this summer," Thompson said.

Most Australians live within a short distance of the coast and beaches are a vital pull for tourism, especially during the December to February southern hemisphere summer.

(Reporting by Sarah Norgrove; Editing by Rob Taylor and Miral Fahmy)