19 January 2018

Royal Life Saving National Drowning Report 2017

This report presents data on drownings in Australia between the 1 July 2016 and 30 June 2017 and details actions that can reduce drowning rates.  There were 291 drowning deaths in 2016-17, representing a 3% increase in the number of deaths from 2015/16, and a 4% increase in the 10 year average. In 2016/17 there 685 estimated non-fatal drowning incidents resulting in hospitalisation. Drownings were most likely to occur in inland waterways (91), followed by beaches (50), in the ocean/harbour (46) and 44 in swimming pools. There were 29 drowning deaths in children aged 0-4 years, representing an increase from last year's total of 22 drownings. Drownings in swimming pools were most common for this age group, and accounted for 45% of cases. However, there was a 75% increase in the number of children in this age group who drowned in baths and spa baths. About three-quarters (76%) of these deaths resulted from a fall  into water.  Overall, there are a range of risk factors that can increase a person's risk of drowning. Risks include age, sex, socio-economic status, pre-existing medical conditions and prior consumption of alcohol and/or drugs.