National Coastal Safety Report 2012 - Surf Life Saving Australia

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National Coastal Safety Report 2012 - Surf Life Saving Australia

National Coastal

Safety Report 2012

A Summary of Coastal Drowning Deaths in Australia


Contents

Introduction 3

Coastal Drowning Deaths 2011-12: National Overview 4

Case Study 1: Putting Sharks in Perspective 5

Case Study 2: Health and Injury 7

Queensland 8

New South Wales 10

Victoria 12

South Australia 14

Western Australia 16

Tasmania 18

Northern Territory 20

Case Study 3: Foreign Ethnicity & International Tourists 20

Case Study 4: Alcohol and Drugs 21

Case Study 5: Rock Fishing 21

Glossary 22

Why do people drown? 24

Methodology 25

References 27

2 | Contents National Coastal Safety Report 2012


Introduction

Preventing Coastal Drowning around Australia

For more than 100 years, Australians and visitors to Australia

have been drawn to our coastline. With over an estimated

100 million beach visitations each year, the task of ensuring

the safety of everyone who visits Australia’s 11,912 beaches

and 36,000km coastline is an extremely challenging one, and

one that Surf Life Saving (SLS) has been dedicated to for over

100 years.

Since 1907, when a group of surf life saving clubs on Sydney’s

beaches first emerged, the network of services protecting

our coastline has grown rapidly. Today, volunteer surf

lifesavers, ALS and council employed lifeguards, rescue

helicopters, rescue boats, surveillance systems and radio

control and coordination centres all work together to ensure

that our beaches are the safest in the world. This collaborative

approach to coastal safety is essential in preventing drowning

along our coastline.

Despite this extensive network of services, coastal drowning

deaths are still at unacceptable levels. In the year 2011-

2012, there were 119* coastal drowning deaths in Australia.

This figure is significantly higher than last year’s 70 coastal

drowning deaths, indicating that there is significant work

ahead of us to reduce the drowning toll – every life lost is one

life too many.

SLSA produces the National Coastal Safety Report to assist

and support evidence-based decision making by all coastal

safety service providers. This report highlights some of the

key initiatives Surf Life Saving – together with our partners in

coastal safety services – has developed and implemented to

help reduce coastal drowning and injuries on the Australian

coastline. We are committed to achieving the goal outlined

in the Australian Water Safety Strategy 2012-2015: to reduce

drowning deaths by 50% by 2020.

This is an ambitious undertaking, but one that is achievable

through a strong, collaborative and evidence-based approach.

I commend this report to you as part of that process.

Brett Williamson OAM

Chief Executive Officer

Surf Life Saving Australia

* Refer to Methodology

2011-12 National Coastal Drowning Snapshot

Table 1

Overall

• 119 coastal drowning deaths

• Above the eight year average of 92

Demographics

• 106 (89%) were males

• 35 (29%) were aged between 15-29 years; individuals

70-74 had the highest drowning rate of 1.2 per 100,000

population

• 33 (28%) were known to be of a foreign ethnicity; 13 (11%)

were international visitors

Time

• 38 (32%) occurred between 12pm – 4pm

• 79 (66%) occurred outside of the summer months

Activity

• 32 (27%) were attributed to swimming/wading

• 20 (17%) were attributed to boating

• 16 (13%) were attributed to rock fishing

Contributory Factors

• 22 (19%) were attributed to rip currents

• 12 (10%) were attributed to a medical condition or injury

• 8 (7%) were attributed to alcohol and/or drug toxicity

Location

• 53 (45%) occurred at a beach

• 50 (42%) of individuals lived more than 50km from the

drowning location

• 67 (56%) of individuals drowned within 5km from the

nearest lifesaving service

National Coastal Safety Report 2012 Introduction | 3


Coastal Drowning Deaths

National Overview

140

120

COD is not listed by coroner

COD is listed by coroner

119

0.6

0.5

Number (n)

100

80

60

40

89

95

98

89

89

83

70

0.4

0.3

0.2

Rate (per 100,000 pop.)

20

0.1

0

2004-05

2005-06

2006-07

2007-08

2008-09

2009-10

2010-11

2011-12

0.0

2004-12

Eight year trend of national coastal drowning deaths

Figure 1

National coastal drowning death numbers and crude drowning rates 2004-12. The eight year average rate per 100,000 population

is 0.43 and number is 92, the rate for 2011-12 is 0.53 and number is 119.

0.20

0.15

Rate (per 100,000 pop.)

0.10

0.05

0.00

2004-05

2005-06

2006-07

2007-08

2008-09

2009-10

2010-11

2011-12

Swimming/Wading

Boating

Rock Fishing

Watercraft

Attempting a Rescue

Diving

Snorkelling

Rock/Cliff Related

Other

Unknown

2004-12

Eight year coastal drowning deaths by activity

Figure 2

The rates of activity types being undertaken when coastal drowning deaths occur varies over time. Swimming and wading deaths

are back up to the eight year average rate of 0.14. Boating deaths continued to increase over the last five years. Rockfishing deaths

have passed the eight year average rate of 0.05 to 0.07 per 100,000 population this year.

4 | Coastal Drowning Deaths: National National Coastal Safety Report 2012


Coastal Drowning Deaths

National Overview

3.4%

0.8%

3.4%

6.7%

Number (n)

50

45

40

35

30

25

20

15

10

5

0

NSW

QLD

VIC

WA

TAS

NT

SA

1.6

1.4

1.2

1.0

0.8

0.6

0.4

0.2

0.0

Rate (per 100,000 pop.)

7.6%

8.4%

12.6%

13.4%

26.9%

16.8%

Swimming/Wading

Boating

Rock Fishing

Watercraft

Snorkelling

Diving

Attempting a Rescue

Rock/Cliff Related

Other

Unknown

2011-12

Coastal drowning deaths by state

(n=119)

Figure 3

Of the 119 coastal drowning deaths, 47 (40%) occurred in

NSW, 30 (25%) in Qld, 10 (8%) in Vic, 15 (13%) in WA, six (5%)

in Tas, four (3%) in NT, and seven (6%) in SA.

2011-12

Coastal Drowning Deaths by Activity

(n=119)

Figure 4

The majority of coastal drowning deaths occurred when an

individual was participating in swimming or wading (32),

boating (20), or rock fishing (16).

Case Study 1

Putting Sharks in Perspective

Number (n)

120

100

80

60

40

20

0

Drowning

Rips

Sharks

2004-05 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10 2010-11 2011-12

2004-12

Number of coastal drowning deaths, those known

to be rip current related, and the number of shark

related deaths

Figure 5

There are many hazards to be aware of at the beach.

Shark attacks sometimes result in a fatality; they almost

always result in media frenzy. Deaths due to drowning

and specifically in rip currents do not make the headlines

as frequently.

There have been at least 732 deaths due to drowning on

Australian coasts since 2004. Rip currents have caused at

least 164 of these deaths; an average of 21 per year. This

is likely a vast underestimate because a witness would

have to describe the deceased being swept away from

shore in a current for the causation to be recorded as a rip

current. The description would also have to make it to the

coroner’s report. The underestimated total still describes

rip currents as the cause in at least 25% of all coastal

drowning deaths and over 50% of all coastal swimming

and wading drowning deaths.

In 2011-12 we have recorded nine shark fatalities in

Australia. This is well above the average of 2.5 deaths per

year since 2004. In the 7 previous years the range has

been 0 to 4 shark related fatalities annually.

Marine creatures remain a hazard in our coastal

environments, when fatalities occur there will typically

media reports to alert the public. Rip currents cause at least

8 times as many deaths and are present in all seven states/

territories. The public needs to be alerted to the main hazard

at surf beaches and be taught to identify and avoid them.

Lifesavers and lifeguards are invaluable resources; they

are constantly evaluating all hazards in patrolled areas and

marking the supervised areas with flags.

National Coastal Safety Report 2012 Coastal Drowning Deaths: National | 5


Coastal Drowning Deaths

National Overview

14

12

Females

Males

1.4

1.2

10.9%

4.2%

Number (n)

10

8

6

4

1.0

0.8

0.6

0.4

Rate (per 100,000 pop.)

20.2%

44.5%

2

0

0-4

5-9

10-14

15-19

20-24

25-29

30-34

35-39

40-44

45-49

50-54

55-59

60-64

65-69

70-74

75-79

80-84

85+

Unknown

Age Group (Years)

0.2

0.0

20.2%

Beach

Offshore

Rock/Cliff

Bay

Marina/Jetty

2011-12

Coastal drowning deaths by age group and sex

(n=119)

Figure 6

The age groups representing the highest rates of fatalities are

70-74 (1.2), 20-24 (0.8) and 25-29 (0.8). 106 (89%) of fatalities

were male.

2011-12

Location of coastal drowning deaths

(n=119)

Figure 7

53 coastal drowning deaths occurred at a beach location.

14

12

Percentage (%)

16

14

12

10

8

6

4

Percentage (%)

10

8

6

4

2

2

0

0

July

August

September

October

November

December

January

February

March

April

May

June

12:01am-1 am

1:01am-2am

2:01am-3am

3:01am-4am

4:01am-5am

5:01am-6am

6:01am-7am

7:01am-8am

8:01am-9am

9:01am-10am

10:01am-11am

11:01am-12pm

12:01pm-1pm

1:01pm-2pm

2:01pm-3pm

3:01pm-4pm

4:01pm-5pm

5:01pm-6pm

6:01pm-7pm

7:01pm-8pm

8:01pm-9pm

9:01pm-10pm

10:01pm-11pm

11:01pm-12am

2011-12

Coastal drowning deaths by month (n=119)

Figure 8

The highest percentages of coastal drowning deaths occurred

in the months of February and April (17, 14%). 40 (34%)

occurred during the summer months. Shading denotes season.

2011-12

Coastal drowning deaths by time (n=94*)

Figure 9

Most fatalities with known times occurred between 12:01pm

and 4pm (38, 32%), shaded.

* Only incidents with known times are represented.

6 | Coastal Drowning Deaths: National National Coastal Safety Report 2012


Coastal Drowning Deaths

National Overview

3.4%

13.4%

10.9%

43.7%

21.8%

42.0%

42.9%

Greater than 5km

Less than 1km

1km to 5km

21.8%

Greater than 50km

10km-50km

Less than 10km

International

Unknown

2011-12

Distance from drowning location to lifesaving

service (n=119)

Figure 10

52 of individuals drowned greater than five kilometres from the

nearest lifesaving service.

2011-12

Distance from residence to drowning location

(n=119)

Figure 11

50 of individuals lived greater than 50 kilometres from the

drowning location.

Case Study 2

Health and Injury

40.5%

29.5%

30.0%

2004 -11

Percentage of coastal drowning deaths with

contributory health issues or injury, (n=613)*

Figure 12

Medical/Injury

None Contributing

Unknown

It is rare that an individual dies from drowning in a coastal

location without some contributory factor. A wave could

wash a rock fisherman off a rock ledge, a rip current could

sweep a swimmer from shore, or an underlying medical

condition could manifest itself when an individual is

immersed in water.

Seven years of coastal drowning death autopsy results

have been analysed. There were 184 fatalities associated

with medical conditions and/or injury. At least 30% of the

deceased have had an underlying medical condition or an

injury the coroner has recorded as contributory. Only 30%

have been listed as simply drowning or immersion without

an additional medical cause. There are still over 40% of

cases that have not resulted in an autopsy or an autopsy

report that is electronically available.

It is important to note that these additional factors are

contributory to drowning deaths. If the medical conditions

such as heart attacks or epileptic seizures; the injuries such

as head wounds from falls or watercraft, had happened on

land they may not have resulted in a fatality. The addition

of water to any recreational activity adds some element of

danger that should not be overlooked.

*2011-12 numbers are excluded due to the unavailability of

autopsy reports at this time.

National Coastal Safety Report 2012 Coastal Drowning Deaths: National | 7


Coastal Drowning Deaths

Queensland

0.25

0.20

Rate (per 100,000 pop.)

0.15

0.10

0.05

0.00

2004-05

2005-06

2006-07

2007-08

2008-09

2009-10

2010-11

2011-12

Swimming/Wading

Boating

Snorkelling

Watercraft

Diving

Rock Fishing

Attempting a Rescue

Other

Unknown

2004-12

Coastal drowning deaths by activity

Figure 13

The rates of activity types being undertaken when coastal drowning deaths occur varies over time in Queensland (Qld). In 2011-12

there were 30 coastal drowning deaths; the swimming and wading, boating, snorkelling and watercraft activity rates are all well

above the eight year averages.

35

30

30

0.7

0.6

3.3%

6.7%

6.7%

33.3%

Number (n)

25

20

15

10

5

0

18

11

17

12

2004-05 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10 2010-11 2011-12

9

15

17

0.5

0.4

0.3

0.2

0.1

0.0

Rate (per 100,000 pop.)

13.3%

16.7%

20.0%

Swimming/Wading

Boating

Snorkelling

Watercraft

Attempting a Rescue

Other

Unknown

2004-12

Eight year trend of Qld coastal drowning deaths

Figure 14

There has been an average number of 16 coastal drowning

deaths in Qld from 2004-12. This is an average rate of 0.37 per

100,000 population.

2011-12

Coastal drowning deaths by activity

(n=30)

Figure 15

The majority of coastal drowning deaths in Qld occurred when

an individual was participating in swimming and wading (10),

boating (6), or snorkelling (5) activities.

8 | Coastal Drowning Deaths: Queensland National Coastal Safety Report 2012


Coastal Drowning Deaths

Queensland

4

1.6

1.4

10.0%

3

1.2

Number (n)

2

1

0

0-4

5-9

10-14

15-19

20-24

25-29

30-34

35-39

40-44

45-49

50-54

55-59

60-64

65-69

70-74

75-79

80-84

85+

Age Group (Years)

1.0

0.8

0.6

0.4

0.2

0.0

Rate (per 100,000 pop.)

13.3%

20.0%

56.7%

Beach

Offshore

Marina/Jetty

Bay

2011-12

Coastal drowning deaths by age group and sex

(n=30)

Figure 16

The age groups representing the highest rates of fatalities are

70-74 years (1.45) and 15-19 years (1.32). 26 (87%) of fatalities

were male.

2011-12

Location of coastal drowning deaths

(n=30)

Figure 17

17 coastal drowning deaths occurred at a beach location.

3.3%

13.3%

10.0%

40.0%

16.7%

36.7%

53.3%

26.7%

Greater than 50km

Less than 10km

International

10km - 50km

Unknown

Greater than 5km

Less than 1km

1km - 5km

2011-12

Distance from residence to drowning location

(n=30)

Figure 18

12 individuals lived greater than 50 kilometres from the

drowning location.

2011-12

Distance from drowning location to lifesaving

service (n=30)

Figure 19

16 individuals drowned greater than five kilometres from the

nearest lifesaving service.

National Coastal Safety Report 2012 Coastal Drowning Deaths: Queensland | 9


Coastal Drowning Deaths

New South Wales

0.30

0.25

Rate (per 100,000 pop.)

0.20

0.15

0.10

0.05

0.00

2004-05

2005-06

2006-07

2007-08

2008-09

2009-10

2010-11

2011-12

Swimming/Wading

Rock Fishing

Boating

Watercraft

Attempting a Rescue

Diving

Rock/Cliff Related

Snorkelling

Other

Unknown

2004-12

Coastal drowning deaths by activity

Figure 20

The rates of activity types being undertaken when coastal drowning deaths occur varies over time in New South Wales (NSW). In 2011-12

there were 47 coastal drowning deaths; the swimming and wading activity rates have increased back up to the average rate of 0.19 and

the rock fishing rate is 0.15, 27% over the average rate of 0.11.

2.1%

2.1%

2.1%

10.6%

50

0.7

29.8%

Number (n)

40

30

20

10

0

35 35

45

29

39 39

2004-05 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10 2010-11 2011-12

23

47

0.6

0.5

0.4

0.3

0.2

0.1

0.0

Rate (per 100,000 pop.)

6.4%

4.3%

10.6%

8.5%

23.4%

Swimming/Wading

Rock Fishing

Boating

Watercraft

Attempting a Rescue

Diving

Rock/Cliff Related

Snorkelling

Other

Unknown

2004-12

Eight year trend of NSW coastal drowning deaths

Figure 21

There has been an average number of 37 coastal drowning

deaths in NSW from 2004-12. This is an average rate of 0.5 per

100,000 population.

2011-12

Coastal drowning deaths by activity

(n=47)

Figure 22

The majority of coastal drowning deaths in NSW occurred

when an individual was participating in swimming and wading

(14) or rock fishing (11) activities.

10 | Coastal Drowning Deaths: New South Wales National Coastal Safety Report 2012


Coastal Drowning Deaths

New South Wales

8

1.6

Number (n)

7

6

5

4

3

2

1

0

0-4

5-9

10-14

15-19

20-24

25-29

30-34

35-39

40-44

45-49

50-54

55-59

60-64

Age Group (Years)

65-69

70-74

75-79

80-84

85+

Unknown

1.4

1.2

1.0

0.8

0.6

0.4

0.2

0.0

Rate (per 100,000 pop.)

40.4%

8.5%

6.4%

44.7%

Beach

Rock/Cliff

Bay

Offshore

2011-12

Coastal drowning deaths by age group and sex

(n=47)

Figure 23

The age groups representing the highest rates of fatalities are

20-24 years (1.40) and 25-29 years (1.34). 42 (89%) of fatalities

were male.

2011-12

Location of coastal drowning deaths

(n=47)

Figure 24

21 coastal drowning deaths occurred at a beach

and 19 at rock/cliff locations.

8.5%

4.3%

19.1%

34.0%

25.5%

23.4%

57.4%

27.7%

Greater than 50km

10km-50km

Less than 10km

International

Unknown

Less than 1km

Greater than 5km

1km - 5km

2011-12

Distance from residence to drowning location

(n=47)

Figure 25

16 individuals lived greater than 50 kilometres from the

drowning location.

2011-12

Distance from drowning location to lifesaving

service (n=47)

Figure 26

27 individuals drowned greater than five kilometres from the

nearest lifesaving service.

National Coastal Safety Report 2012 Coastal Drowning Deaths: New South Wales | 11


Coastal Drowning Deaths

Victoria

0.16

0.14

0.12

Rate (per 100,000 pop.)

0.10

0.08

0.06

0.04

0.02

0.00

2004-05

2005-06

2006-07

2007-08

2008-09

2009-10

2010-11

2011-12

Swimming/Wading

Boating

Rock Fishing

Attempting a Rescue

Diving

Rock/Cliff Related

Snorkelling

Watercraft

Other

Unknown

2004-12

Coastal drowning deaths by activity

Figure 27

The rates of activity types being undertaken when coastal drowning deaths occur varies over time in Victoria (Vic). In 2011-12

there were 10 coastal drowning deaths; the swimming and wading, boating and rock fishing activity rates are all below the eight

year averages.

18

0.35

10%

Number (n)

16

14

12

10

8

6

4

2

0

14

15

17

11 11

2004-05 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10 2010-11 2011-12

12

10 10

0.30

0.25

0.20

0.15

0.10

0.05

0.00

Rate (per 100,000 pop.)

10%

10%

10%

20%

40%

Swimming/Wading

Watercraft

Boating

Diving

Rock Fishing

Snorkelling

2004-12

Eight year trend of Vic coastal drowning deaths

Figure 28

There has been an average number of 13 coastal drowning

deaths in Vic from 2004-12. This is an average rate of 0.24 per

100,000 population.

2011-12

Coastal drowning deaths by activity

(n=10)

Figure 29

The majority of coastal drowning deaths in Vic occurred when

an individual was participating in swimming and wading (4) or

boating (2) activities.

12 | Coastal Drowning Deaths: Victoria National Coastal Safety Report 2012


Coastal Drowning Deaths

Victoria

2

0.6

0.5

10%

Number (n)

1

0.4

0.3

0.2

Rate (per 100,000 pop.)

20%

40%

0.1

0

0.0

0-4

5-9

10-14

15-19

20-24

25-29

30-34

35-39

40-44

45-49

50-54

55-59

60-64

65-69

70-74

75-79

80-84

85+

Age Group (Years)

30%

Beach

Bay

Offshore

Rock/Cliff

2011-12

Coastal drowning deaths by age group and sex

(n=10)

Figure 30

The age group representing the highest rates of fatalities is

35-44 years (0.50). Nine (90%) of fatalities were male.

2011-12

Location of coastal drowning deaths

(n=10)

Figure 31

Four coastal drowning deaths occurred at a beach location.

10%

10%

10%

40%

10%

30%

60%

30%

Greater than 50km

10km - 50km

Less than 10km

International

Unknown

Less than 1km

Greater than 5km

1km - 5km

2011-12

Distance from residence to drowning location

(n=10)

Figure 32

Four individuals lived greater than 50 kilometres from the

drowning location.

2011-12

Distance from drowning location to lifesaving

service (n=10)

Figure 33

Six individuals drowned less than one kilometre from the

nearest lifesaving service.

National Coastal Safety Report 2012 Coastal Drowning Deaths: Victoria | 13


Coastal Drowning Deaths

South Australia

0.45

0.40

0.35

Rate (per 100,000 pop.)

0.30

0.25

0.20

0.15

0.10

0.05

0.00

2004-05

2005-06

2006-07

2007-08

2008-09

2009-10

2010-11

2011-12

Swimming/Wading

Boating

Watercraft

Diving

Rock/Cliff Related

Attempting a Rescue

Snorkelling

Rock Fishing

Other

Unknown

2004-12

Coastal drowning deaths by activity

Figure 34

The rates of activity types being undertaken when coastal drowning deaths occur varies over time in South Australia (SA). In 2011-12

there were seven coastal drowning deaths; the boating and diving activity rates are well above the eight year average, but swimming/

wading and watercraft activity rates are below the average.

Number (n)

14

12

10

8

6

4

2

0

9

13

4

9

2004-05 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10 2010-11 2011-12

11

3

2

7

0.9

0.8

0.7

0.6

0.5

0.4

0.3

0.2

0.1

0.0

Rate (per 100,000 pop.)

14.3%

14.3%

14.3%

57.1%

Boating

Diving

Swimming/Wading

Other

2004-12

Eight year trend of SA coastal drowning deaths

Figure 35

There has been an average of seven coastal drowning deaths

per year in SA from 2004-12. This is an average rate of 0.50 per

100,000 population.

2011-12

Coastal drowning deaths by activity

(n=7)

Figure 36

The majority of coastal drowning deaths in SA occurred when

an individual was participating in boating (4) activity.

14 | Coastal Drowning Deaths: South Australia National Coastal Safety Report 2012


Coastal Drowning Deaths

South Australia

3

2.0

1.8

1.6

14.3%

Number (n)

2

1

1.4

1.2

1.0

0.8

0.6

0.4

Rate (per 100,000 pop.)

28.6%

57.1%

0.2

0

0.0

0-4

5-9

10-14

15-19

20-24

25-29

30-34

35-39

40-44

45-49

50-54

55-59

60-64

65-69

70-74

75-79

80-84

85+

Age Group (Years)

Offshore

Beach

Marina/Jetty

2011-12

Coastal drowning deaths by age group and sex

(n=7)

Figure 37

The age group representing the highest rate of fatalities is 50-

54 years (1.75). Six (86%) of fatalities were male.

2011-12

Location of coastal drowning deaths

(n=7)

Figure 38

Four coastal drowning deaths occurred at an offshore location.

28.6%

42.9%

57.1%

Greater than 50km

10km - 50km

71.4%

Greater than 5km

Less than 1km

2011-12

Distance from residence to drowning location

(n=7)

Figure 39

Four individuals lived greater than 50 kilometres from the

drowning location.

2011-12

Distance from drowning location to lifesaving

service (n=7)

Figure 40

Five individuals drowned greater than five kilometres from the

nearest lifesaving service.

National Coastal Safety Report 2012 Coastal Drowning Deaths: South Australia | 15


Coastal Drowning Deaths

Western Australia

0.40

0.35

0.30

Rate (per 100,000 pop.)

0.25

0.20

0.15

0.10

0.05

0.00

2004-05

2005-06

2006-07

2007-08

2008-09

2009-10

2010-11

2011-12

Swimming/Wading

Rock Fishing

Boating

Snorkelling

Rock/Cliff Related

Watercraft

Diving

Attempting a Rescue

Other

Unknown

2004-12

Coastal drowning deaths by activity

Figure 41

The rates of activity types being undertaken when coastal drowning deaths occur varies over time in Western Australia (WA). In

2011-12 there were 15 coastal drowning deaths; the swimming/wading and boating activity rates are below average, but rock

fishing, watercraft, and snorkelling activities are well above the eight year averages.

16

0.8

13.3%

14

15 15

0.7

26.7%

Number (n)

12

10

8

6

4

2

0

8

13

12 12

11

10

2004-05 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10 2010-11 2011-12

0.6

0.5

0.4

0.3

0.2

0.1

0.0

Rate (per 100,000 pop.)

13.3%

20.0%

26.7%

Rock Fishing

Watercraft

Snorkelling

Swimming/Wading

Diving

2004-12

Eight year trend of WA coastal drowning deaths

Figure 42

There has been an average of 12 coastal drowning deaths in

WA from 2004-12. This is an average rate of 0.54 per 100,000

population.

2011-12

Coastal drowning deaths by activity

(n=15)

Figure 43

The majority of coastal drowning deaths in WA occurred when

an individual was participating in rock fishing (4) or using nonpowered

watercraft (4).

16 | Coastal Drowning Deaths: Western Australia National Coastal Safety Report 2012


Coastal Drowning Deaths

Western Australia

3

5.0

4.5

4.0

13.3%

Number (n)

2

1

3.5

3.0

2.5

2.0

1.5

Rate (per 100,000 pop.)

20.0%

40.0%

1.0

0.5

0

0.0

0-4

5-9

10-14

15-19

20-24

25-29

30-34

35-39

40-44

45-49

50-54

55-59

60-64

65-69

70-74

75-79

80-84

85+

Age Group (Years)

26.7%

Beach

Rock/Cliff

Offshore

Bay

2011-12

Coastal drowning deaths by age group and sex

(n=15)

Figure 44

The age group representing the highest rate of fatalities is 70-

74 years (4.39). Fourteen (93%) of fatalities were male.

2011-12

Location of coastal drowning deaths

(n=15)

Figure 45

Six coastal drowning deaths occurred at a beach location.

20.0%

20.0%

26.7%

53.3%

26.7%

53.3%

Greater than 50km

Less than 10km

International

Greater than 5km

Less than 1km

1km - 5km

2011-12

Distance from residence to drowning location

(n=15)

Figure 46

Eight individuals lived greater than 50 kilometres from the

drowning location.

2011-12

Distance from drowning location to lifesaving

service (n=15)

Figure 47

Eight individuals drowned greater than five kilometres from the

nearest lifesaving service.

National Coastal Safety Report 2012 Coastal Drowning Deaths: Western Australia | 17


Coastal Drowning Deaths

Tasmania

1.2

1.0

Rate (per 100,000 pop.)

0.8

0.6

0.4

0.2

0.0

2004-05

2005-06

2006-07

2007-08

2008-09

2009-10

2010-11

2011-12

Boating

Swimming/Wading

Rock Fishing

Diving

Snorkelling

Watercraft

Rock/Cliff Related

Attempting a Rescue

Other

Unknown

2004-12

Coastal drowning deaths by activity

Figure 48

The rates of activity types being undertaken when coastal drowning deaths occur varies over time in Tasmania (Tas). In 2011-12

there were six coastal drowning deaths; the boating and diving activity rates are well above the eight year average, but there were

no swimming and wading deaths.

9

1.8

8

7

8 8

1.6

1.4

33.3%

Number (n)

6

5

4

3

2

1

0

5 5

2

2004-05 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10 2010-11 2011-12

3

5

6

1.2

1.0

0.8

0.6

0.4

0.2

0.0

Rate (per 100,000 pop.)

66.7%

Boating

Diving

2004-12

Eight year trend of Tas coastal drowning deaths

Figure 49

There has been an average of five coastal drowning deaths in

Tas from 2004-12. This is an average rate of 1.05 per 100,000

population.

2011-12

Coastal drowning deaths by activity

(n=6)

Figure 50

The coastal drowning deaths in Tas occurred when an individual

was participating in boating (4) or diving (2) activities.

18 | Coastal Drowning Deaths: Tasmania National Coastal Safety Report 2012


Coastal Drowning Deaths

Tasmania

2

7.0

Number (n)

1

6.0

5.0

4.0

3.0

2.0

Rate (per 100,000 pop.)

16.7%

1.0

0

0-4

5-9

10-14

15-19

20-24

25-29

30-34

35-39

40-44

45-49

50-54

55-59

60-64

65-69

70-74

75-79

80-84

85+

Age Group (Years)

0.0

83.3%

Offshore

Bay

2011-12

Coastal drowning deaths by age group and sex

(n=6)

Figure 51

The age group representing the highest rate of fatalities is 55-

59 years (5.73). All six (100%) of fatalities were male.

2011-12

Location of coastal drowning deaths

(n=6)

Figure 52

Five coastal drowning deaths occurred at an offshore location.

100%

33.3%

66.7%

Greater than 50km

10km - 50km

Greater than 5km

2011-12

Distance from residence to drowning location

(n=6)

Figure 53

Four individuals lived greater than 50 kilometres from the

drowning location.

2011-12

Distance from drowning location to lifesaving

service (n=6)

Figure 54

All six individuals drowned greater than five kilometres from

the nearest lifesaving service.

National Coastal Safety Report 2012 Coastal Drowning Deaths: Tasmania | 19


Coastal Drowning Deaths

Northern Territory

7

3.0

6

6

2.5

Number (n)

5

4

3

4

2.0

1.5

1.0

Rate (per 100,000 pop.)

2

2

1

1 1 1

0.5

0

0 0

2004-05 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08 2008-09

2009-10

2010-11

2011-12

0.0

2004-12

Eight year trend of NT coastal drowning deaths

Figure 55

There has been an average of two coastal drowning deaths per year in Northern Territory (NT) from 2004-12. This is an average rate

of 0.84 per 100,000 population. In 2011-12 there were four coastal drowning deaths in NT.

Further analysis of the 2011-12 coastal drowning deaths in the Northern Territory will not be published because there were less

than five fatalities this past year.

Case Study 3

Foreign Ethnicity and International

Tourists

Number (n)

50

45

40

35

30

25

20

15

10

5

0

Foreign Ethnicity

International Tourists

2004-05 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10 2010-11 2011-12

2004-12

Foreign ethnicity and international tourist coastal

drowning deaths

Figure 56

The number of coastal drowning deaths that occur to persons

of foreign ethnicity remains a significant proportion of the total

drowning toll. There have been 262 fatalities of persons of known

foreign ethnicity from 2004-2012, representing 36% of all coastal

drowning deaths. 79 (30%) of these were international tourists

who represent 11% of all coastal drowning deaths.

There were 33 (28%) deaths of persons of known foreign ethnicity

in 2011-12, 13 (39%) were international tourists. Two regions most

represented in these statistics are China (15%) and the United

Kingdom (12%). Most of the drowning deaths occurred in NSW

(52%), while swimming and wading (33%) or rock fishing (24%), in

a beach (42%) or rock/cliff (33%) location.

This over-representation of persons of a foreign ethnicity in our

drowning data remains consistent and will continue to be an

intervention priority.

20 | Coastal Drowning Deaths: Northern Territory National Coastal Safety Report 2012


Case Study 4

Alcohol and Drugs

33.4%

44.4%

22.2%

Toxicity

No toxicity

Unknown

2004 -11

Percentage of coastal drowning deaths with

contributory alcohol or drug use, (n=613)*

Figure 57

The Australian Water Safety Council has identified four key

drowning challenges in their revised strategy launched

this year (AWSC, 2012). One of these challenges is ‘Alcohol

and Drug Related Drowning Deaths’. There were 136

coastal drowning deaths associated with alcohol and/or

drug toxicity between 2004 and 2011*. These represent

over 22% of all coastal drowning deaths. This is likely

an underestimate as 33% of the cases do not include a

toxicology report.

At least 35% of the deceased were swimming or wading at

the time of the incident, 20% were boating and 8% were

rock fishing. Males represent 85% of the alcohol/drug

related deaths; the age group most represented is 45-49

years (15%).

Intoxicated individuals are more at risk for drowning due

to their impaired judgement and coordination. Alcohol

and drugs should be avoided when recreational activities

include water. Intervention strategies should target men

in their 40s who intend to swim or engage in boating

activities under the influence.

* 2011-12 numbers are excluded due to the unavailability of

toxicology reports at this time.

Case Study 5

Rock Fishing

Number (n)

25

20

15

20

10

12

11

9

5

4

0

2004-05 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08 2008-09

16 16

6

2009-10 2010-11 2011-12

0.12

0.10

0.08

0.06

0.04

0.02

0.00

Rate (per 100,000 pop.)

Rock fishing remains the activity with the third highest rate of

coastal drowning nationally, after swimming/wading and boating.

SLSA was contracted by the NSW Department of Primary

Industries to conduct a research review of rock fishing safety in

NSW following recommendations by the Coroner. The report

(Bradstreet et al., 2012) made three main recommendations

to address this hazardous recreational activity. The

recommendations are: to develop a strategic plan for rock

fishing safety under any proposed comprehensive water safety

strategies; develop, implement and assess a public education

and communications campaign; and to legislate the mandatory

wearing of Personal Flotation Devices (PFDs) while rock fishing at

coastal locations.

2004 -11

Rock fishing related coastal drowning deaths

Figure 58

An average of 12 coastal drowning deaths per year have occurred

during rock fishing activities in Australia from 2004-12. This past

year, 2011-12, there were 16, 25% above the eight year average.

There have been a total of 94 rock fishing deaths in the last eight

years, 91 (97%) have been male individuals; the average age is 45

years. The majority, 59 (63%), have been individuals of foreign

ethnicity, 28 (47%) of these have been of Chinese decent. Rock

fishing safety materials have been developed in several different

languages. The reduction of rock fishing related drowning

remains a priority for our public education and drowning

prevention campaigns.

National Coastal Safety Report 2012 Case Studies | 21


Glossary

ALS - Australian Lifeguard Service.

Attempting rescue - An individual makes an effort to remove

someone from a dangerous situation.

AWSC - Australian Water Safety Council – also Australian

Water Safety Conference.

AWSS - Australian Water Safety Strategy.

Bay - A body of water partially enclosed by land but with a wide

mouth, affording access to the sea.

Beach - An expanse of sand or pebbles along a shoreline.

Blackspot - An area with a high concentration of coastal/

ocean incidents and a high probability/risk of ongoing

reoccurrence.

Boating - Individuals using either a powered vessel or sailing

boat for pleasure and/or fishing.

Coastal - The foreshore, seabed, coastal water, and air space

above a large body of water (harbour/bay/inlet), including

areas up to 2NM offshore and of which the landward boundary

is the line of mean high water, except that where that line

crosses a river/inlet, the landward boundary at that point shall

be the point upstream that is calculated by multiplying the

width of the river/inlet mouth by 5 (Adopted from the Resource

Management Amendment Act 1991 - New Zealand).

Coastal death - A fatality arising from various circumstances

(e.g.heart attack, boat collision, fall, shark attack) occurring

where the location of the death is coastal.

Coastal drowning death - Where the location of the

drowning is on the coast, in the ocean up to 2NM off-shore or

inland up to 5 times the width of the inlet/river.

Crude drowning rate - The crude drowning rate is a

comparative rate of drowning to the size of the population in

that area.

Disaster incident - An exceptional event which suddenly

kills 10 or more people; reportedly affects 100 or more

individuals; a state of emergency is declared; or there is a call

for international assistance (CRED, 2009). This may be a result

of a natural disaster such as severe flooding or a tsunami;

or a technological disaster such as a mechanised mode of

transport accident.

Diving - Engaging in recreational or commercial SCUBA diving.

Drowning - The process of experiencing respiratory

impairment from submersion/immersion in liquid.

Drowning death - A fatality arising from the process of

respiratory impairment as a result of submersion/immersion

in liquid.

First Aid - Immediate or emergency assistance given on the

spot to people suffering from illness or injury.

Fishing - The act of catching fish.

Foreign ethnicity - Individuals who identify with a cultural

group other than Australian based on heritage, language,

or shared customs. This identification is extrapolated from

reported data such as the individuals’ country of birth and

the main language spoken at home.

Hotspot - An area with a low/medium concentration of

coastal/ocean incidents combined with a high number of

rescues/preventative actions.

HRS - Helicopter rescue service.

ILS - International Life Saving Federation.

Inland - An area that is beyond the line of mean high water or

beyond a landward distance of 5 times the width of the coastal

inlet/river mouth.

Inland death - A fatality arising from various circumstances

(e.g. heart attack, boat collision, fall, shark attack) occurring

where the location of the death is not considered coastal, but

occurs in an inland body of water such as a river, lake, creek,

or dam.

Inland drowning death - A fatality arising from the

impairment of respiratory function as a result of immersion in

liquid, where the location of the drowning is not considered

coastal but occurs in and inland body of water such as a river,

lake, creek, or dam.

International - An individual who is confirmed to reside

oversees and/or is a temporary visitor to Australia.

IRB - Inflatable rescue boat.

JRB - Jet rescue boat.

Lake - An inland body of water surrounded by land.

Leisure activity - An activity commenced on land such as play,

walking, jogging, or cycling.

Lifeguard - Typically a paid employee at a beach or another

aquatic environment whose role is to rescue people in danger

of drowning or prevent them getting into that situation.

22 | Glossary National Coastal Safety Report 2012


Glossary

Lifesaving service - A service which exists to provide aquatic

safety services to the public.

Marina/jetty - A boat basin offering dockage and other

service for small craft, or a pier/wharf.

NCIS - National Coroners Information System.

Ocean death - A fatality arising from various circumstances

(e.g. heart attack, boat collision, fall, shark attack) occurring

where the location of the death is in the ocean greater than

2NM offshore, but no greater than 12NM.

Ocean drowning death - Where the location of the

drowning is in the ocean greater than 2NM offshore, but no

greater than 12NM.

Open ocean - The seabed, water and air space above the

water between 2NM and 12NM (the Australian territorial

waters limit) offshore.

ORB - Offshore rescue boat.

Patrolled location - A location supervised constantly or

periodically by a lifesaving service.

Prevention - Where intervention by a lifesaving resource

averts a person/s from getting into a potentially life

threatening situation.

Rescue - Where intervention by a lifesaving resource

removes a person/s from a life threatening or potentially life

threatening situation.

Resuscitation - Preservation or restoration of life by

establishing and maintaining a person’s airway, breathing

and circulation.

RIB - Rigid inflatable boat.

Rip current - A narrow seaward flowing current of water

moving through a surf zone (Short, 2003).

Rock/cliff - A rocky shoreline that may or may not have a high

steep face.

Rock/cliff related - An activity besides fishing that is

performed on a rocky shoreline or off a groyne.

ROT - Remote Offshore Territory.

River - A natural stream of water flowing into an ocean or bay.

RWC - Rescue water craft - sometimes called a personal

water craft.

Rock fishing death - A fatality arising from various

circumstances occurring (e.g. wave motion, loss of footing)

where the Victim was participating in fishing activities on a

rocky coast immediately prior to or during the incident.

Service gap - An area identified as having an inadequate level

of resources to meet public safety demands.

Service season & hours - Vary between states due to

climactic factors, but in the context of this report, the season is

for the period July 2010 to June 2011.

Snorkelling - Swimming with a snorkel and face mask.

Support operations - Rapid response rescue units, not

affiliated to any one surf life saving club.

Surfcom - SLS radio communications centre which assists in

managing the communications of lifesaving operations and

data collection.

Surf lifesaver - Typically a volunteer at a beach or another

aquatic environment whose role is to rescue people in danger

of drowning or prevent them getting into that situation.

Swimming - A person who is active while immersed in water.

Total service plan - An assessment of current and future

lifesaving resources, national blackspots, hotspots and trends.

Undetermined - Cases that are not associated with a closed

coroner’s report on NCIS are often left ‘undetermined’

until an official cause of death has been determined. Some

examples are cases where bodies have been found washed

up on the beach or reports of individuals struggling in coastal

environments are made and the bodies are not found. These

deaths will all be followed up on and the incident category

updated once coroner determinations are made accessible.

Wading - A person who is partially immersed in water while

standing.

Watercraft - A piece of non powered recreational equipment

used in the water which is not a boat. Examples include

surfboards, boogie boards, and windsurfers.

National Coastal Safety Report 2012 Glossary | 23


Why do people drown?

An understanding of why people drown is significant when developing drowning prevention strategies. Four key factors have been

identified that may lead to accidental drowning, known as the ‘Drowning Chain’. Any of these factors alone, or a combination, could

lead to death by drowning (George, 2011).

Drowning chain and drowning prevention strategies

Table 2

Drowning Chain

Lack of knowledge, disregard or misjudgment of a hazard

Uninformed, unprotected or unrestricted access to a hazard

Lack of supervision or surveillance

Inability to cope once in difficulty

Drowning Prevention Strategies

Education and information

Denial of access, improvement of infrastructure and/or

provision of warnings

Provision of supervision

Acquisition of survival skills

RISK ASSESSMENT

INFORM

EDUCATE AND

LACK OF KNOWLEDGE, DISREGARD FOR

OR MISUNDERSTANDING OF THE HAZARD

PUBLIC EDUCATION AND AWARENESS

TO INCREASE KNOWLEDGE THROUGH QUALITY

REDUCE

DROWNING

TO PROMOTE SAFE AQUATIC

ENVIRONMENTS

UNINFORMED OR UNRESTRICTED

ACCESS TO THE HAZARD

RISK ASSESSMENT

PROVIDE WARNINGS

AND DENY ACCESS

TO PROMOTE THE ACQUISITION

SURVIVAL SKILLS

INCREASE

RISK ASSESSMENT

ONCE IN DIFFICULTY

INABILITY TO COPE

OF SURVIVAL SKILLS

LIFESAVING SERVICES

TO PROMOTE QUALITY

LIFESAVING SERVICES

EXTEND

RISK ASSESSMENT

LACK OF SURPERVISION

OR SURVEILLANCE

24 | Why do people drown? National Coastal Safety Report 2012


Methodology

The 2011-12 National Coastal Safety Report contains

information on all coastal drowning deaths for the period of 1

July 2011 to 30 June 2012. This information is correct as of 16

October 2012.

All care is taken to ensure the statistical information included

within this report is correct. However, pending the outcome of

ongoing coronial investigations, this data may be amended.

Data Sources

SLSA collects incident data from our own SurfGuard Incident

Report Database (IRD), the National Coronial Information

System (NCIS) and by monitoring media reports for

drowning incidents.

The information is verified with the assistance of each

state Surf Life Saving centre and complied for analysis by

SLSA’s Lifesaving and Research Departments. The following

information is recorded for each drowning incident: state;

date; drowning location; GPS coordinates; time; age; gender;

incident type; activity information; whether the incident

was work related; entered into IRD; IRD number; NCIS case

number; whether the case is open/closed; whether the case

was reported by the state; the original source of information;

drowning location suburb; local government area; postcode;

associated SLS club; month; day; season; quarter; victim’s

name; address; residence country; residence distance to

coastline; residence distance to drowning location; victim’s

birth country; nationality; time in Australia; main language;

additional activity information; the victim’s experience in

the activity; whether the incident was rip current related;

detailed description of the incident; details relating to

alcohol; drugs; or health conditions; weather conditions;

wind conditions; sea conditions/wave size; wave type;

water surface; temperature; tides; location to a lifeguarding

service; whether or not the location was patrolled at the time;

personnel who first sighted the incident; first rescued; other

services; and resuscitation details.

The following variables are used to match drowning cases

from more than one data source: incident date; location;

age; gender; and incident description. The NCIS is

considered the ‘gold standard’ when there is a discrepancy

in the details collected from different data sources.

Verification Process

The coastal drowning data that has been published in previous

NCSR editions since 2004-05 is constantly reviewed to ensure

the validity of the data. Each case was analysed to ensure

that the descriptions as ‘coastal drowning death’, ‘coastal

death’, ‘inland drowning death’, ‘ocean drowning death’,

and ‘undetermined’ meet both our current definitions and

the NCIS information available. Deaths that are reported as

‘unintentional’, ‘unknown intent’ and ‘unlikely to know intent’

are included. Deaths are excluded if they are reported as

‘intentional deaths’, they are inland/ocean locations drowning

or drowning/immersion is not the primary cause of death.

The new list is compared to the original workbook and any

necessary inclusions are made. All details are also matched

with the NCIS reports. When incidents on our workbook are

not found on NCIS we liaise with NCIS personnel for help.

Cases with detailed IRD and media reports are investigated

and included whether personnel can find an NCIS case

number or not.

Limitations

Over years of investigation as part of the NCIS process, some

cases are amended prior to their closure, resulting in changes

to the classification of cases in our data sets. Therefore, the

number of coastal drowning deaths published in this report

may be different from annual totals previously reported. In an

effort to produce a timely report on our current year’s data

we acknowledge that these figures will change. Each year, the

changes that occur in the previous year’s report will be made

transparent. The data in this current report are not the final

figures as 68% of 2011-12 coastal drowning deaths reported

remain open cases and 31% of cases do not have a cause of

death (COD) listed yet. Once a closure occurs to NCIS cases we

can modify undetermined cases, those with unknown intent,

and those where the cause of death is not drowning.

All deaths known to have occurred in coastal waters have

been included as coastal drowning deaths, unless the COD is

listed as otherwise. Bars of two different colours are used to

illustrate the events where a COD has not been listed on NCIS.

The incidents are included in our annual totals and analysis,

they will remain so until the event a COD is listed other than

drowning/immersion.

What is a coastal drowning death?

SLSA defines a coastal drowning death as a fatality arising

from the process of respiratory impairment from submersion/

immersion in the foreshore, seabed, coastal water, and

air space above a large body of water (harbour/bay/inlet),

including areas up to 2 nautical miles offshore and of which the

landward boundary is the line of mean high water, except that

where that line crosses a river/inlet. In this case the landward

boundary at that point shall be the point upstream that is

calculated by multiplying the width of the river/inlet mouth

by 5. These unambiguous coastal/inland boundaries have

been adopted from New Zealand’s Resource Management

Amendment Act 1993.

National Coastal Safety Report 2012 Methodology | 25


Methodology

Changes from previous reports

Over years of investigation as part of the NCIS process, some

cases are amended prior to their closure and have resulted

in changes to our data sets. The new numbers of coastal

drowning deaths are different from the annual totals that have

been previously reported as cases have closed.

Changes in the number of coastal drowning deaths per year

as reported in 2011

We look forward to continuing our verification processes in the

future to ensure the most correct data is being reported.

Suggested Citation

Surf Life Saving Australia (2012) National Coastal Safety

Report 2012. SLSA: Sydney.

Table 3

2011 NCSR 2012 NCSR

2004 - 05 92 89

2005 - 06 103 95

2006 - 07 103 98

2007 - 08 92 89

2008 - 09 91 89

2009 - 10 84 83

2010 - 11 61 70

26 | Methodology National Coastal Safety Report 2012


References

Australian Water Safety Council (2012). Australian Water Safety Strategy 2012-2015. Australian Water Safety Council: Sydney.

Bradstreet, A., Sherker, S., Brighton, B., Weir, A., Thompson, M. (2012) Research Review of Rock Fishing in New South Wales.

Surf Life Saving Australia: Sydney.

Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters- CRED (2009) Explanatory Notes: Criteria and Definition.

Retrieved from http://www.emdat.be/criteria-and-definition on 05/09/2011

George, P. (2011) Drowning Prevention Strategies 2011. World Conference on Drowning Prevention.

International Life Saving Federation, Danang.

New Zealand, Ministry for the Environment (1991) Resource Management Act 1991.

Retrieved from http://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/1991/0069/latest/DLM230265.

html?search=ts_act_Resource+Management+Act_resel&p=1&sr=1 on 05/09/2011

Short, A. D. (2003) Australia beach systems - the morphodynamics of wave through tide-dominated

beach-dune systems. Journal of Coastal Research SI 35, 7-20.

With thanks

Surf Life Saving Australia wishes to thank the following people and organisations for their contribution to the 2012 National Coastal

Safety Report:

The Australian Government, principally the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet; SLSA partners, including DHL, Telstra

and Westpac; Surf Life Saving state centres, branches, clubs and support operations; SLSA’s Research Department, Dr. Shauna

Sherker, Barbara Brighton and the SLSA Research Advisory Committee; Royal Life Saving Society Australia, Amy Peden; National

Coronial Information System personnel, Jo Cotsonis and Leanne Daking.

National Coastal Safety Report 2012 References | 27


2011-12 National Coastal Drowning Snapshot

Overall

• 119 coastal drowning deaths

• Above the eight year average of 92

Demographics

• 106 (89%) were males

• 35 (29%) were aged between 15-29 years; individuals

70-74 had the highest drowning rate of 1.2 per

100,000 population

• 33 (28%) were known to be of a foreign ethnicity; 13

(11%) were international visitors

Time

• 38 (32%) occurred between 12pm – 4pm

• 79 (66%) occurred outside of the summer months

Activity

• 32 (27%) were attributed to swimming/wading

• 20 (17%) were attributed to boating

• 16 (13%) were attributed to rock fishing

Contributory Factors

• 22 (19%) were attributed to rip currents

• 12 (10%) were attributed to a medical condition or injury

• 8 (7%) were attributed to alcohol and/or drug toxicity

Location

• 53 (45%) occurred at a beach

• 50 (42%) of individuals lived more than 50km from the

drowning location

• 67 (56%) of individuals drowned within 5km from the

nearest lifesaving service

Surf Life Saving receives valuable Government funding to commence valuable initiatives and programs. However, we rely on the

generosity of the community and corporate support to ensure they continue.

To help Surf Life Saving, please donate to the

Surf Life Saving Foundation

www.sls.com.au

For more information

Surf Life Saving Australia

www.sls.com.au

Surf Life Saving New South Wales

www.surflifesaving.com.au

Surf Life Saving Northern Territory

www.lifesavingnt.com.au

Surf Life Saving Queensland

www.lifesaving.com.au

Surf Life Saving South Australia

www.surfrescue.com.au

Surf Life Saving Tasmania

www.slst.asn.au

Life Saving Victoria

www.lifesavingvictoria.com.au

Surf Life Saving Western Australia

www.mybeach.com.au

28 | Contents National Coastal Safety Report 2012

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