Figures published today by Royal Life Saving Society – Australian and Surf Life Saving Australia show that 276 people drowned across Australia from July 2018 to June 2019, representing a 10% increase on the previous year.
Of these, 123 deaths (45%) occurred over the summer period, which is a 17% increase compared with the 10-year average.
Overall, 101 drowning deaths occurred in inland waterways and 31 in swimming pools. There were 122 coastal drowning deaths, which included 71 on beaches, 22 at rock/cliff locations and 18 offshore. Over 80% of total drowning deaths were male.
Published in the annual national reports of Royal Life Saving and Surf Life Saving, the research findings also highlight:
- An estimated 584 hospitalisations in the past year occurred as a result of non-fatal drowning incidents across Australia.
- Drownings in children aged 0 to 4 years decreased by 30%, compared with the 10-year average.
- Risk-taking behaviour, often involving alcohol and drugs, as well as poor swimming ability continue to impact drowning rates.
- Coastal drowning deaths in the past year were above the 15-year average of 110 drowning deaths a year.
The reports were released today by the Hon Senator Richard Colbeck, the Minister for Aged Care and Senior Australians, and the Minister for Youth and Sport, at Parliament House, Canberra.
Royal Life Saving CEO, Justin Scarr, said “As the weather warms up, we all share a responsibility to keep our children, family and friends safe around the water. Simple safety measures can make all the difference between a great day out and a tragedy.”
Surf Life Saving CEO, Adam Weir, said “Australians visit to the coast for enjoyment and fun, yet over the years too many times have these visits turned into tragedy despite the significant efforts of surf lifesavers. Surf Life Saving’s National Coastal Safety Report highlights a continued need for all to adopt a STOP, LOOK, PLAN approach to water safety.”
With the support of the Australian Government, Royal Life Saving and Surf Life Saving Australia urge all Australian’s to:
- Supervise children at all times around the water
- Learn swimming and lifesaving skills
- Wear a life jacket when boating, rock fishing or paddling
- Swim at a patrolled beach between the red and yellow flags
- Avoid alcohol and drugs around water.
For the full National Coastal Safety Report go here.