MEDIA RELEASE: Summer Drowning Toll increases

Published 27 December 2023

Royal Life Saving Summer Drowning Toll

High temperatures make swimming in the pool, beach, or local river much more attractive with huge numbers expected to flock to the water, making water safety critical over the coming week.

As of 27 December, Royal Life Saving Summer Drowning Toll reports 21 drowning deaths compared to 19 this time last year. Royal Life Saving urges against complacency around the water. Last summer 90 people drowned, 25% occurring between Christmas and New Year.

Royal Life Saving Chief Executive Officer Justin Scarr said, “the days between Christmas and New Year’s Day are often the deadliest period for drowning. Whether you are holidaying, day tripping choosing a safe location to swim, where lifeguards are on duty is essential. Rivers, lakes, and unpatrolled beaches can be incredibly dangerous, especially for people with poor swimming skills.”

Parents are advised to keep watch constantly, avoid distractions like social media, designate an adult supervisor at parties and recognise that their child’s swimming skills may not be up to scratch.

“Parents are urged to actively supervise children at all times if you are near water, whether swimming in a backyard pool, or at a dam, river, beach or lake,” Mr Scarr said.

Adults are encouraged to avoid drinking around the water, especially around inland waterways including lakes and rivers, while camping or fishing.

“Alcohol was a factor in more than a quarter of drowning deaths last summer so we’re asking everyone to stay off the beers until fishing, boating or swimming has finished. Make the right call around water and look after your mates.”

“Many rivers, lakes and dams have more water than in previous years and with lots of water moving downstream, especially after flooding. It’s important not to let children play or swim in floodwater,” Mr Scarr said.

Royal Life Saving wants everyone to enjoy the water safely, but to prepare and brush up on safety precautions, especially in unfamiliar locations.

These are our top five tips to enjoy the water safely this summer:

  • Always supervise children around water
  • Avoid alcohol around water
  • Wear a lifejacket when boating and fishing
  • Know the conditions
  • Avoid going alone

Summer Drowning Toll can be found at:

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