Release of the Royal Life Saving National Drowning Report 2014

The Royal Life Saving National Drowning Report 2014, which has been launched in Parliament House, Canberra on Tuesday September 30th, outlines the tragic loss of life to drowning in communities across Australia, in waterways of all types. 266 lives were lost to drowning in Australian waterways between 1 July 2013 and 30 June 2014. Royal Life Saving says this is a “moderate but promising” 10% improvement on the 2012/13 report (which had an adjusted total of 295 drowning deaths).

The key findings include:

  • 266 people drowned in Australian waterways between 1 July 2013 and 30 June 2014.
  • This is a reduction of 29 deaths on the 295 recorded in 2012/13 and is the lowest number of drowning deaths recorded in the past 12 years.
  • Inland waterways continue to claim the largest number of lives, with 105 drowning deaths in rivers, creeks, lakes and dams around the country.
  • Inland waterways accounted for over a third (39%) of all drowning deaths around the country in 2013/14.
  • 81% of all drowning deaths in Australia are males, 215 males drowned last year compared to 51 females.
  • Despite a spike in 2012/13, there is a reduction in the number of drowning deaths among children under five.
  • There were 20 drowning deaths recorded in children under five, the lowest number on record since 1995.
  • Swimming pools continue to pose the greatest risk for children under five, accounting for 70% of all drowning deaths in this age group in 2013/14.
  • For the first time since 2010, swimming pools have overtaken beaches as the location with the second highest number of drowning deaths, with 39 deaths, compared to 34 at Australian beaches.
  • People aged 55 plus accounted for one third (33%) of all drowning deaths in 2013/14, with 87 fatalities recorded.
  • There has been a 43% increase the number of young people aged 15 to 24 drowning in Australia, with 40 deaths in 2013/14, compared to 28 in 2012/13.
  • Alcohol was known to be involved in 18% of all drowning deaths. Almost half (49%) of those who were known to have consumed alcohol, recorded a blood alcohol reading that was four times the legal limit (0.2mg/L) or higher.

Further information can be found at our website:

You may also be interested in the YouTube video created to provide an overview of the Report and to promote water safety.