Sinkers #DontDrinkAndSink

Media Room

Media Contacts

For media enquiries, please contact:

Amanda Fry
Phone: 02 9280 1600 / Mobile: 0418 262 282

Royal Life Saving Personnel are available to talk about this Campaign and important messages including:
Michael Ilinksy, Operations Manager,
Royal Life Saving Society - NSW Branch
Phone: 02 9634 3700 / Mobile: 0408 869 782

Media Release

Sinkers Range Promotes #DontDrinkAndSink
Erin Molan, Ellie Jean Coffey, Corbin Harris and Dan Ewing join forces to un-endorse “Sinkers” in a new campaign to raise awareness of adolescent drowning deaths involving alcohol

Click here to download the full media release for the launch of the Sinkers Campaign. 

Statistics (Swim Safe Swim Sober Report - A study examining drowning in NSW and the influence of alcohol)

There were 517 people who drowned in NSW over the five year period 1 July 2002 to 30 June 2007, of these, 401 (77.6%) were males.

This was on average 103 deaths per annum (range 99 in 2004-2005 to 106 in 2002-2003). The crude rate per 100,000 per annum ranged from 1.48 in 2004-2005 to 1.61 in 2002-2003.

Just under one-third (29%) of all drowning deaths involved alcohol. Of these 149 people, 81.2% were males

The 15-29 years age group had the highest number (40), rate (0.58 per 100,000) and proportion (40.8%) of drowning deaths involving alcohol.

The average age of people who drowned due to alcohol involvement was 40.3 years (median = 42 years). Of the seven drowning deaths of people under the age of 15 years, four were under 10 years of age and were in cars being driven by a person under the influence of alcohol.

The three most common locations where drowning deaths occurred in NSW were the ocean (21.7%), beaches (20.5%) and rivers (18.8%). The locations with the highest proportion of alcohol related deaths were rivers (55.7%), creeks (52.2%) and lakes

The three most common activities being undertaken immediately prior to drowning were swimming (27.3%), falling-in (18.6%) and using watercraft (18.4%).

The activities with the highest proportion of alcohol related deaths were driving (54.3%), rescue (50.0%) and bathing (38.7%)

Swim Safe Swim Sober Report

This report presents a statistical description of the burden of alcohol-related drowning deaths within New South Wales.

Information for this report was collected by Royal Life Saving NSW using the National Coroners Information System (NCIS) and Coronial offices for the period 1 July 2002 to 30 June 2007. Information provided includes only unintentional drowning deaths and as such does not include suicide, homicide, natural death (such as cardiac arrest), shark attack, or hypothermia where known.

Population statistics by age and sex within New South Wales were collected from the ABS population data.

The drowning rate was then calculated by dividing the drowning deaths identified within each category by the population in the same category and multiplied by 100,000. This enabled drowning deaths in New South Wales to be examined by the rate per 100,000 people by age and sex.

To view the full report and its findings please click here.

Swim Safe Swim Sober – NSW Online Educational Program

Challenging and engaging secondary students about the consequences of mixing alcohol and water.

The Swim Safe Swim Sober Online Program is an innovative online educational experience that is designed for secondary school students. The program draws upon a broad range of alcohol issues and utilises aquatic themes to explore risk-taking behaviour, resilience, personal attitudes and beliefs, personal relationships, refusal skills, contingency planning and ethical decision making.

The Swim Safe Swim Sober Online Program has been developed to specifically meet key syllabus outcomes and will challenge students in a creative technology based platform.

Its flexible design provides classroom teachers with the opportunity to deliver Swim Safe Swim Sober as an “in class facilitated experience” or as a “blended class, home learning program”.

The Swim Safe Swim Sober Online Program is hosted on the Royal Life Saving Society eLearning system and contains 5 modules:

1.    Introduction
2.    Impacts and Effects
3.    Be the Influence
4.    Alcohol Facts
5.    Protect Yourself

For further details contact please contact your nearest Royal Life Saving NSW Office who will provide you with relevant Log On details and support:

Sydney T: 02 9634 3700 / E:
Hunter T: 02 4929 5600 / E:
Illawarra T: 02 4225 0108 / E:
Northern T: 02 6651 6266 / E:
Riverina T: 02 6921 7422 /  E:
Western T: 02 6369 0679 / E:

Case Studies

Case Study 1: The body of a man has been found after he was swept away trying to cross a flooded river. Witnesses saw the man struggle before he disappeared. His body was not found until the following afternoon only metres from where he was swept away. The man had been drinking alcohol with friends prior to trying to cross the river. His death highlights the risks of combining alcohol and water.

Case Study 2: Ben*, 21 was spending an afternoon at the beach with his girlfriend after lunch at the beachside pub where he consumed a few drinks. After having a quick dip with his girlfriend, Ben ventured into an unpatrolled section of the beach to body surf by himself. His girlfriend noticed he had been out for a while and couldn’t see him so raised the alarm with lifeguards. They retrieved him but he could not be revived. Ben had a Blood Alcohol Content of 0.056g/100ml.