Victorian summer drownings up 18 per cent

February 5, 2024 BY

In Victoria, there have been 20 fatal drowning instances this summer. Photo: SUPPLIED

NEW data from Surf Life Saving Victoria reveals summer drownings are 18 per cent higher than the same time last year, and higher than the five-year average.

Surf Life Saving Victoria senior manager Andrew English said the statistics were disturbing.

“In Victoria, there have been 20 fatal drowning instances from December 1 until today. This is three more than the five-year average – 18 per cent higher.”

According to the Royal Life Saving Australia national summer drowning toll, there have been 71 drowning deaths in Australia since December 1.

This is 22 per cent more drownings than at the same time last summer and already 5 per cent higher than the five-year average.

“We have a combination of factors, most recently swimming at unpatrolled locations, and not knowing how to check conditions and being unrealistic in self-assessment of one’s own abilities,” Mr English said.

“We encourage people to plan before they go, check the Beach Safe app, which not only tells you your nearest patrolled location but also informs you about conditions, what rips and tides are doing.”

He said Surf Life Saving Victoria encouraged people to plan ahead in advance of their day on the water.

“The best thing to do is always swim at a patrolled location, but if tempted, always check with someone local to the region.

“In regional coastal areas, speak to locals and ask them about local conditions.”

Mr English noted males aged 45 and over were over-represented in the statistics as they were most likely to overestimate their ability and underestimate conditions.

“It’s not always visitors to the region; we still see locals over-represented in coastal drownings,” he said.