Research & Policy
Royal Life Saving’s research, education and advocacy work in drowning prevention and water safety is supported by the Australian Government.

Royal Life Saving's advocacy and policy work in drowning prevention and water safety is based on in-depth research to understand fatal and non-fatal drowning to build a picture of the circumstances behind every incident and the wide-ranging impacts drowning has on people and communities.

It aims to provide and evidence base for all of Royal Life Saving's water safety education and safety resources.


Every year, Royal Life Saving produces the National Drowning Report, examining the factors that contribute to drowning deaths in Australia by examining who, where, when and how people have drowned in Australian waterways. We are ever mindful that these stories in this report are of real people whose lives have been lost or impacted by drowning. We seek to advocate and collaborate to reduce the impact of drowning on the community.

A 10 year analysis of drowning in children 5-14 years

Royal Life Saving Society – Australia has found drowning deaths in school children aged five to 14 have remained stubbornly high over the past decade.

The research, which covers the decade to the end of June 2021, examined all 105 drowning deaths in children aged five to 14 years old. Male children in the five to nine years age group continued to be at most risk of drowning.

There was a short-lived decrease in drowning deaths in this age group in 2016/17 and 2017/18, but those gains have been eliminated in the years since.


Royal Life Saving's programs, products and services are underpinned by research and a commitment to continual improvement. From 2021-2022 research delivered:

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National Drowning Report page views
Summer Drowning Toll Page Views
Australian Water Safety Strategy
The Australian Water Safety Strategy is informed and built in partnership with water safety organisations at home and abroad, and sets out core priorities and objectives for reducing drowning to allow safe aquatic participation.
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The Australian Government provides significant support and funding for Royal Life Saving's drowning prevention initiatives and activities, including swimming and water safety education programs, community awareness campaigns and industry support.