Report Shows Increased Drownings

There has been a timely reminder for people enjoying the state’s diverse coastal environments to heed surf safety messages after the National Coastal Safety Report found that there has been a 21% increase in drownings nation-wide during the 2014-15 year.

The 2014-15 National Coastal Safety Report commissioned by Surf Life Saving Australia was launched at Sydney’s busy Bondi Beach last Sunday by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

Some of the key findings in the report include;

  • 102 coastal drownings – up from 84 in 2013-14
  • 37 people drowned in NSW – an increase of 7 from the previous season
  • 86 % of drowning victims were male
  • Contributing factors nationally included rip currents (16%), medical conditions (27%) and alcohol or drugs (9%)
  • Victims were participating in activities including swimming, boating, rock fishing and other water craft

The numbers show that in NSW waters most people get into difficulty while swimming (38%) or rock fishing (19%), but that almost all of the incidents occurred at an unpatrolled beach and outside normal operating hours.

There were no drownings between the red and yellow flags anywhere in Australia last season which reinforces the importance of patrolled beaches in drowning prevention strategies.

NSW Lifesaving Manager Andy Kent said the numbers demonstrate the need to continually educate the public about how to keep safe at the beach.

“Our volunteers do an exceptional job on our beaches and this increase in drownings can be attributed to a range of factors.

“Cleary we need to keep promoting our safety messages to the public, particularly around the dangers of rock fishing and swimming away from patrolled locations.

“The report highlights the need for vigilance and to keep educating the public about the dangers on our beaches. New South Wales has an extremely diverse stretch of coastline which provides plenty of unique challenges and we need to stay on top of our game to ensure that we do everything possible to keep people safe,” Mr Kent concluded.

A copy of the 2014/15 National Coastal Safety Report is available for download HERE

Fri 11 Dec 2015