Life Saving Victoria’s newly released Victorian Drowning Report for 2017/2018 shows there were 107 drowning incidents (40 fatal and 67 non-fatal) for the financial year, with the report recently released at the Williamstown Swimming and Life Saving Club.
The report includes drowning incidents that occurred over the peak summer period, which was the highest summer drowning toll in Victoria in 20 years, with 23 reported drowning deaths from 1 December2017 to 28 February 2018.
A worryingly high 35% of drowning deaths were people from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities and males continue to be over-represented in drowning statistics, being three times more likely to drown than females.
LSV’s Principal Research Associate Doctor Bernadette Matthews said the Victorian coastline was a major location for drownings in the period, with a 28% increase in coastal drowning in 2017/18compared to the ten-year-average (2007/8 – 2016/17).
“Alcohol continues to be a persistent factor,with nine drowning deaths in which alcohol and/or illicit drugs were reportedly consumed by the individual prior to drowning. This represents 23% of the total number of drowning incidents in 2017/18,” Dr Matthews said.
“The statistics in the report show there’s still work to be done in educating Victorians on water safety. It’s what drives all of us working within the Play it Safe by the Water campaign; we’re all working towards the same aim of saving lives.”
The results come on the anniversary of the 20th Water Safety Week, where 19 aquatic agencies work together under the state government funded Play it Safe by the Water committee for an increase in water safety awareness.