People heading to Wagga's waterways over the Australia Day weekend have been urged to take care after the city and the Murrumbidgee River was named as a top 10 location for inland drownings across Australia.
Royal Life Saving Riverina regional manager Michael Dasey called on swimmers and boaters to follow safety precautions and avoid alcohol as a run of days above 40 degrees draws more people to waterways.
"Drowning locations is not the top ten you want to be in," he said.
"The Murrumbidgee is a long river system, it is very dynamic, it changes so it's not just Wagga but Wagga often is the focus because of the population but there are other areas on the river that do have some concerns."
Royal Life Saving research has shown that the risk of drowning doubles on public holidays, with alcohol being a major risk factor.
People are twice as likely to drown when then have a blood alcohol concentration of 0.05 on a public holiday than any other day, with 37 per cent of drowning deaths on public holidays involving alcohol.
Swimmers at Wagga Beach who spoke The Daily Advertiser yesterday afternoon said they took safety warnings to heart.
Paul Swan, from Brisbane, was at Wagga Beach as part of a family trip to the city.
"We're always water safe. We don't have any alcohol with us as this is a family trip," he said.
"It's something you see more often at night on New Year's Eve or Australia Day.
"I haven't seen anyone playing silly buggers here yet."
Mitch Jones, from Wagga, said he too was always water safe and the family had enrolled their daughter, Charlotte, aged 8, in the Royal Life Saving Outback Lifesaver program that was due to start next week.
Mr Dasey urged people to treat swimming like driving a motor vehicle and keep alcohol use completely separate.
"Alcohol affects judgement and the ability to make correct choices, it will affect a person's physical ability and may believe they may have abilities greater than what they possess," he said.
"Over the long weekend you also get an influx of people around the waterways and alcohol heightens the risk enormously."
Royal Life Saving found that men continued to be over-represented, accounting for 75 per cent of drowning deaths over this summer with most incidents occurring at unpatrolled inland waterways such as rivers.
"If you are on your own, that is exactly what you are: on your own," Mr Dasey said.
"You have to make sure that you make the right choices. If you are on the water in a boat, you have to have a life jacket on.
"Avoid alcohol and all costs and if you are doing something, go with a friend so there is at least somebody else there to help if anything happens."
The Murrumbidgee Local Health District has also reminded people to take extra care when swimming in rivers as temperatures are set to soar across the region this weekend.
"Rivers are a very inviting and popular for people to go and cool off, but we need to be very respectful of the river," MLHD disaster manager Denise Garner said.
"Rivers have different depths that change over time, with currents that change from hour to hour."