Click here to view the Summer Drowning Toll Dashboard

Royal Life Saving National Summer Drowning Toll

Royal Life Saving research shows a consistent peak in fatal drowning cases in the summer months. In a bid to understand the increased risks during this time, each year, we publish the Summer Drowning Toll from 1 December to the end of February, which charts drowning incidents around Australia in these months. This serves as a timely vehicle for us to promote safety advice in conjunction with our ongoing drowning prevention campaigns for particularly high-risk groups and communities, such as men, children and people from multicultural communities.

The purpose of the Summer Drowning Toll is to report on drowning number based on real-time report from the media and police reporting.

This year’s summer drowning toll has a different look and feel, using a dashboard to present drowning over summer in graphs that will provide a comparison to the same time last year and the 5-year average. We hope this will provide more information than in previous years.

Summer Drowning Report 2023/24

The Royal Life Saving Summer Drowning Toll recorded 99 drowning deaths across Australia between 1 December 2023 and 29 February 2024. Tragically this is a 10% increase on the 90 drowning deaths recorded last summer and 5% increase on the 5-year average of 94 drowning deaths.

We remain ever mindful of the people whose lives have been lost or impacted by drowning, including the many families affected by the loss or long-term injury of a loved one.

2023/24 Summer drowning trends:

  • 26% of all drowning deaths occurred during the week between Christmas and New Year.
  • 26% of people who drowned were older adults aged 55 years and over.
  • 10% were children aged 0-14 years.
  • 7% were flood-related (Queensland and Victoria).
  • All States/Territories reported an increase in drowning compared to last summer except New South Wales, ACT and SA.
  • 10% were reported as being overseas tourists on holiday in Australia.
  • Many drowning deaths occurred at unpatrolled, isolated locations, including beaches, rivers, lakes and dams.


For media requests: ​

Please contact Media Key on 0409 420 112 or 03 9769 6488. ​

A range of Royal Life Saving spokespeople are available for comment.​

For the Royal Life Saving Summer Safety Campaign key messages and resources​

Click here to view the Summer Drowning Toll Dashboard