MEDIA ALERT: Summer Drowning Toll

Royal Life Saving Summer Drowning Toll


Royal Life Saving will be providing regular updates on the drowning toll over the summer (1 December 2021 to 28 February 2022).

With warm and wet weather expected as a result of La Niña, there will be an increased risk of drowning in our rivers, lakes, dams and swimming pools.

Tragically, drowning deaths in 2020/21 increased by 20% compared to 2019/20. The Royal Life Saving National Drowning Report 2021 recorded 101 drowning during summer, which was more than a third of all drowning deaths across the year. Our most recent National Drowning Report can be found here.

We want people to enjoy the water safely. When a tragedy occurs, the media can help by sharing safety information and warnings. After a challenging two years for many families and communities, water safety messages are more important than ever.

Drowning can have more than one outcome, referred to as fatal drowning (death) or non-fatal drowning. It is incorrect to refer to a “near-drowning”. Instead, this should be described as a “non-fatal drowning”. By using the correct terminology, you are helping us to raise awareness and spread important safety messages.

The Summer Drowning Toll can be found at Bookmark it for regular updates across the summer. The website will include an analysis of fatal drowning, including a comparison to “this time” last summer, as well as location and activity information.

If you need something specific, for example localised data, please contact us.

The Royal Life Saving Media Centre can be found at and includes resources such as b-roll and related images for news outlets.

We hope the media will visit these websites regularly and contact Media Key (03 9769 6488 or 0409 420 112) for comment. Royal Life Saving spokespeople will be available across Australia for comment throughout summer.

Yours sincerely,
Justin Scarr
Chief Executive Officer
Royal Life Saving Society – Australia