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2009 National Coastal Safety Report Preventing coastal drownings in Australia

2009 – National Coastal Safety Report – 1


2009 National Coastal Safety Report Table of Contents

Why do people drown?

Why do people drown? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 Preventing coastal drowning deaths in Australia . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Coastal drowning deaths in 2008-09: National Overview . . . . . . 5

Death by accidental drowning is usually due to a sequence of four factors known as the ‘drowning chain’. Any of these factors alone, or in combination with others, could lead to death by drowning.

New South Wales . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 Queensland . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 South Australia . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 Victoria . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 Western Australia . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 Tasmania . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 Northern Territory . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 Lifesaving activity around the coast in 2008-09 . . . . . . . . . . . . How can we reduce coastal drowning deaths? . . . . . . . . . . . . . Preventing drowning – new initiatives . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Thanks to . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Index and glossary of terms . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

2 – 2009 – National Coastal Safety Report

20 21 22 23 23

Table 1: The drowning chain and prevention strategies Drowning chain

Drowning prevention strategies

Lack of knowledge, disregard or misjudgment of a hazard

Education and information

Uninformed, unprotected or unrestricted access to a hazard

Denial of access, improvement of infrastructure and/or provision of warnings

Lack of supervision or surveillance at a hazard

Provision of supervision

Provision of supervision

Acquisition of survival skills

Source: International Life Saving Federation: www.ilsf.org


SE

D

S

SM

EN

ON IS I RV CE PE A N L IL T

SE

RV

IC E

S

IN AV

G

T

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TO IN C R E P U B L I A SE K N CE D U OW CA LE TIO

ED U IN CA F

I ON IS I T Q U LS C E A K IL TH A L S IV

ES L IF ES

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E LS AS KIL E R LS A

LAC O KO R SU F S R VE U

RI S

KA S

L I FE E S X A VI N T E N G

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V ID

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REDUCE DROWNING

EQ U A SE L I T Y RV IC

E O P IE S C TO CULT Y T IF F I NT ME D S S

RO M EN OTE VI R ON S

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TY Q U AL I U G H N E SS O H R AR E E T AW DG A N D N

S NG N I ES S AR ACC

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D AN E T RM O

T ED R IC S T RD RE AZA UN E H TH

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AS P RO SE V AN I D DD EW EN Y

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L AC K O R MI OF K S UN NO DE WL RS E TA D ND RI S

FOR D R RD EG A E H A Z A R S DI F TH , GE NG O I NT

RI S

K

A

I O N N AB C E I I LI N

Graphical representation of the drowning chain and prevention strategies. 2009 – National Coastal Safety Report – 3


Preventing coastal drowning deaths around Australia 1

The coast is our favourite playground. For more than 100 years, Australians have flocked to it to enjoy our wonderful beaches. The task of preventing coastal drowning deaths has been going on for just as long. In 1907, a handful of surf life saving clubs on Sydney’s beaches were dedicated to this. Now, there is a network of services provided by volunteer surf lifesavers, Surf Life Saving Australia (SLSA) or council-employed lifeguards, rescue helicopters, boats, RWCs, cameras and radio control rooms. Together, they ensure our beaches are among the safest in the world. Despite this extensive coastal safety network, people still die by drowning in unacceptable numbers. In the year 2008-09 there were 94 2 coastal drowning deaths, seven more than the five-year average of 87. SLSA produces the National Coastal Safety Report to assist evidence-based decision-making by all coastal safety service providers. SLSA records details of coastal drowning deaths and other serious incidents in its own central database (SurfGuard). This data is cross-referenced with media monitoring reports, other peak bodies and a detailed search of the National Coroners Information System (NCIS).

the goals outlined in the Australian Water Safety Strategy 20092011, including a 50% reduction in drowning deaths by the year 2020. As the Australian Water Safety Council has noted, 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

This year, for the first time, the report also includes data from many local government-operated lifeguard services. As the land managers of most of the coast, councils play a critical role in the provision of safe beaches. In order to provide a more complete picture of lifesaving activities around the country, many coastal councils have provided detailed statistics on the number of rescues, first aid treatments and preventative actions, and we thank them for their contribution. The report also provides an overview of some of the initiatives SLSA will take to reduce coastal drowning deaths in consultation with the many service providers during 2009-10. This, combined with the various other programs funded by the Australian, state and local governments, helps Australia lead the way in the provision of effective coastal lifesaving services. Together, we work towards 1

 See glossary for definitions. In line with international best practice, a distinction is made between ‘drowning’ (respiratory impairment as a result of submersion/immersion in liquid) and ‘drowning death’ (a fatality arising from the process of respiratory impairment as a result of submersion/immersion in liquid). 2 The data in this report is correct as at September 2009, however detailed data may change, pending the outcome of ongoing coronial investigations. 4 – 2009 – National Coastal Safety Report


Coastal drowning deaths in 2008-09 – National Overview 3

Number of coastal drowning deaths · 94 coastal drowning deaths occurred, an increase of six on the previous year. This is higher than the five-year average of 87. Who were they? · Males continue to dominate the coastal drowning death figure, representing 83 of the 94 fatalities (88%). · The 30 to 39 year age-bracket had the highest representation at 19 (20%). In the 2007-08 year, most coastal drowning deaths occurred in the 20 to 29 year age-bracket. · 20 drowning death victims (21%) were confirmed as foreign nationals by birthplace or nationality, up from 18 (20%) in the previous season. Four (4%) were international tourists. · 44 (47%) coastal drowning death victims lived less than 10km from the coastline and 34 (36%) drowned less than 10km from their place of residence. Where did the drowning deaths occur? · 46 coastal drowning deaths occurred in New South Wales (49%), 14 in Western Australia (15%), ten in Victoria (11%), nine in South Australia (10%), seven each in Queensland and Tasmania (7%) and one in the Northern Territory. · 40 (43%) coastal drowning deaths occurred less than 1km from a lifesaving service 4. 29 (31%) occurred more than 5km from a lifesaving service. · 63 (67%) of coastal drowning deaths occurred at a beach location and of these, 32 occurred close to a patrolled location5. · No drowning deaths occurred between the red and yellow flags.

What were people doing when they drowned? · 32 (34%) of all those who died by drowning were swimming or wading at the time. · 12 (13%) involved fishing on rocks or at beaches. Other deaths around the coast · 24 non-drowning deaths occurred on the coast during 2008-09, many involving a heart complication or accident. · In 15 ocean drowning deaths and two ocean deaths6, the victim was involved in boating, diving or snorkelling. Shark-related incidents · There were 20 recorded shark-related incidents in the 2008-09 year, one of which was fatal. This is consistent with the annual average of one to two victims. · Nine incidents resulted in some kind of injury and 13 incidents involved a person who was surfing at the time. 3 Refers

to year commencing 1 July 2008 and finishing on 30 June 2009. 4 See glossary.

5 Ibid. 6 Ibid.

When did the drowning deaths occur? · The most common time of the day for fatalities was between 3pm and 4pm, when 15 (16%) coastal drowning deaths occurred. However, 21 (22%) occurred at night, between 6pm and 8am. · Sunday was the most common day for coastal drowning fatalities with 16 (17%) drowning deaths; 63 (67%) occurred during the week. · Between December and March, 43 coastal drowning deaths occurred – an average of one every three to four days.

2009 – National Coastal Safety Report – 5


Coastal drowning deaths in 2008-09 3 – National Overview – Graphs

Graph 1: Five year coastal drowning deaths – trends

Graph 2: Coastal drowning death rate per 100,000 head of population – trends

100

2008-2009 coastal drowning deaths

80 60 40 20 0

2005-06

2006-07

2007-08

2008-09 5 year av.

‘000*

5 year average

Qld

7

7%

4349.5

0.16

0.21

NSW

46

49%

7041.4

0.65

0.47

Vic

10

11%

5364.8

0.19

0.24

Tas

7

7%

500.3

1.40

0.85

SA

9

10%

1612

0.56

0.48

WA

14

15%

2204

0.64

0.47

NT

1

1%

221.7

0.45

0.37

94

100%

21293.7

0.44

0.37

Total 2003-04* 2004-05

%

Crude all-age drowning rate per 100,000 p.a.

* Source: ABS, Dec 08

Qld Tas SA NSW NT National WA Vic * 03-04 data adjusted following revised definition of coastal drowning death

Graph 3: Coastal drowning death – age cluster trends

Graph 4: Coastal drowning deaths – by month

3 Refers

cif

sp e Un

90

-8

-7

2006-07

to year commencing 1 July 2008 and finishing on 30 June 2009.

6 – 2009 – National Coastal Safety Report

80

70

-5 9

2007-08 2004-05

60

50

-4 40

-3 30

20

10

0-

2008-09 2005-06

ied

0

-9 9

0

9

5

9

5

-6 9

10

9

10

9

15

-2 9

15

-1 9

20

9

20

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun


Coastal drowning deaths in 2008-09 3 – National Overview – Graphs

Graph 5: Coastal drowning deaths – distance of victim residence to coastline

11.7%

46.8%

Unknown

4.3%

Less than 10km

Graph 6: Coastal drowning deaths – distance of victim residence to drowning locality

12.8%

36.2%

Less than 10km

10km - 50km

10km - 50km

Greater than 50km

Greater than 50km

International tourist

International tourist

24.5%

18.1%

Graph 7: Geographic location of coastal drowning deaths

70.2%

Unknown

4.3%

22.3%

Graph 8: Distance of drowning death location to lifesaving service

Beach

30.9%

2.1% 42.6%

Marina

Unknown Less than 1km

Open ocean

Between 1km & 5km

Other

Greater than 5 km

Rocks/cliff 3.2% 2.1% 7.4%

Unknown

6.4% 13.8%

24.5%

2009 – National Coastal Safety Report – 7


Coastal drowning deaths in 2008-09 – New South Wales 3

Number of coastal drowning deaths · During 2008-09 there were 46 coastal drowning deaths in NSW, an increase of 13 on the previous year. · The annual total of 46 coastal drowning deaths is higher than the state’s five year average of 37.

What were people doing when they drowned? · Around the coastline, 15 (33%) of those who died by drowning were swimming or wading at the time. · Nine (20%) coastal drowning deaths involved fishing on rocks or at beaches.

Who were they? · The 30- to 39-year age-bracket had the highest representation at 10 (22%). In the 2007-08 year, most coastal drowning deaths occurred in the 50- to 59-year age-bracket. · 17 drowning deaths (37%) were confirmed as foreign nationals by birthplace or nationality, up from eight (24%) in the previous season.

Other deaths around the coast · 13 coastal deaths 9 occurred during 2008-09, some involving heart complications and others were accidental. Two (15%) were suspected suicides currently still being investigated.

Where did the drowning deaths occur? · 25 (54%) coastal drowning deaths occurred less than 1km from a lifesaving service 7 and seven (15%) occurred more than 5km from a lifesaving service. · 25 (54%) of coastal drowning deaths occurred at a beach location and 18 (72%) occurred close to a patrolled location 8. · Six coastal drowning deaths occurred in the local government areas of Waverley and Wollongong and four in each of the local government areas of Coffs Harbour, Wyong and Randwick. When did the drowning deaths occur? · During 2008-09 the most common times of the day for fatalities were between 10am and 11am and between 3pm and 4pm with seven (15%) coastal drowning deaths each, while 14 (30%) occurred between 6pm and 8am. · Sunday was the most common day for coastal drowning fatalities with 11 (24%) coastal drowning deaths. 28 (61%) coastal drowning deaths occurred during the week (Monday to Friday). · Eight (17%) coastal drowning deaths occurred during January, closely followed by November and February with seven (15%) each. · 21 (46%) occurred during summer (December to March).

3 Refers

to year commencing 1 July 2008 and finishing on 30 June 2009.

8 – 2009 – National Coastal Safety Report

7 See

glossary. 8 Ibid. 9 Ibid.


Coastal drowning deaths in 2008-093 – New South Wales – Graphs

Graph 9: Month of NSW coastal drowning deaths

Graph 10: Day of NSW coastal drowning deaths

12

8 7

10

6 8

5

6

4 3

4

2 2

1 0

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Graph 11: Time of NSW coastal drowning deaths

0

Mon

Wed

Thu

Fri

Sat

Sun

Graph 12: Activity of person prior to drowning death - NSW

8

6.5%

7

Tue

4.3% Attempting rescue

13.0%

30.9%

6 4.3%

5

Boating (incl. fishing) Diving/snorkeling

4

Fishing (beach & rock)

3

Other/unknown

2

Swimming/wading 37.5%

1

Watercraft (non-powered)

1a

19.6%

Mid

nig

ht -1 m am 2a 2am m 3a 3am m -4 4a a m m 5a 5am m 6a 6am m 7a 7am m 8a 8am m 9a - 9a m m 10 - 10 am am 11 - 11a am m No Noon on 1p 1pm m 2p 2pm m 3p 3pm m 4p 4pm m 5p 5pm m 6p 6pm m -7 7p p m m 8p 8pm m 9p - 9p m m 10 - 10 p p 11 m - m 11 pm - M pm idn igh t

0

19.6%

Total: 46

Unknown: 3

2009 – National Coastal Safety Report – 9


Coastal drowning deaths in 2008-093 – Queensland 10 Number of coastal drowning fatalities? · During the 2008-09 year, seven coastal drowning deaths occurred in Queensland. This is a decrease of one on the previous year. · The annual total of seven coastal drowning deaths is lower than the state’s five-year average of 12. Who were they? · The 45- to 55-year age-bracket had the highest representation at three (43%). In the 2007-08 year, most coastal drowning deaths occurred in the 20- to 30-year age-bracket. · Two people who died by drowning (29%) were confirmed as foreign nationals by birthplace or nationality, down from five (63%) in the previous season. Where did the drowning deaths occur? · Five (71%) coastal drowning deaths occurred less than 1km from a lifesaving service11 and one (14%) occurred more than 5km from a lifesaving service. · Five (71%) of coastal drowning deaths occurred at a beach location but only three occurred close to a patrolled location12. · Three (43%) coastal drowning deaths occurred in the local government area of the Gold Coast, and two in Cairns.

10 – 2009 – National Coastal Safety Report

When did the drowning deaths occur? · During the 2008-09 year the most fatal time of the day was between 3pm and 4pm with four (57%) coastal drowning deaths. No drowning deaths occurred between 6pm and 8am. · Two drowning deaths occurred on a Monday and a Thursday with only one drowning occurring on the weekend. · Two (29%) drowning deaths occurred during both November and April, but none occurred during the peak summer period (December to March). What were the people doing when the drowning deaths occurred? · Around the coastline, four (57%) of all those who died by drowning were diving or snorkelling at the time. Other deaths around the coast · Five coastal deaths13 occurred during 2008-09 both involving boating activity. · Eight ocean drowning deaths and two ocean deaths14 involved boating and also snorkelling or diving. 3 Refers

to year commencing 1 July 2008 and finishing on 30 June 2009. 10 SLSA records all coastal drowning deaths (see glossary). For the purposes of its own reporting, Surf Life Saving Queensland focuses on ‘surf beach related drowning’ of which there were three in 2008-09. 11 See glossary. 12 Ibid. 13 Ibid. 14 Ibid.


Coastal drowning deaths in 2008-09 3 – Queensland – Graphs

Graph 13: Month of Qld coastal drowning deaths

Graph 14: Day of Qld coastal drowning deaths

2

2

1

1

0

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Graph 15: Time of Qld coastal drowning deaths

0

Mon

Tue

Wed

Thu

Fri

Sat

Sun

Graph 16: Activity of person prior to drowning death-Qld

4 28.6%

57.0%

Diving/snorkeling Other/unknown

3

Swimming/wading 2

1 14.3%

1a

Mid

nig

ht -1 m am 2a 2am m 3a 3am m 4a 4am m 5a 5am m 6a 6am m 7a 7am m 8a 8am m 9a - 9a m m 10 - 10 am am 1 11 am 1am No Noon on 1p 1pm m 2p 2pm m 3p 3pm m 4p 4pm m 5p 5pm m 6p 6pm m 7p 7pm m 8p 8pm m 9p - 9p m m 10 - 10 p p 11 m - m 11 pm - M pm idn igh t

0

Total: 7

Unknown: 1

2009 – National Coastal Safety Report – 11


Coastal drowning deaths in 2008-09 3 – South Australia Number of coastal drowning fatalities · There were nine coastal drowning deaths in South Australia in 2008-09, a decrease of two on the previous year. · The annual total of nine is in line with the state’s five year average. Who were they? · The 40 to 50 year age-bracket had the highest representation at six (67%), much more concentrated than the 2007-08 year, which was evenly dispersed across age-brackets. Where did the drowning deaths occur? · Seven (78%) of the nine coastal drowning deaths occurred more than 5km from a lifesaving service15 and all nine of the coastal drowning deaths occurred at a beach location but only two (22%) occurred close to a patrolled location. · Two coastal drowning deaths occurred in each of the local government areas of Victor Harbour, Grant and Franklin Harbour. 3 Refers

to year commencing 1 July 2008 and finishing on 30 June 2009.

12 – 2009 – National Coastal Safety Report

15 See

glossary.

16 Ibid.

When did the drowning deaths occur? · During 2008-09, the most fatal time of the day was between 5pm and 6pm with four (44%) coastal drowning deaths, while two (22%) occurred between 6pm and 8am. · Three (33%) coastal drowning deaths occurred on Saturday and five (56%) were during the week. · Four (44%) coastal drowning deaths occurred during January with the majority (seven, 89%) occurring during summer (December to March). What were the people doing when the drowning deaths occurred? · Around the coastline, four (44%) of those who died by drowning were swimming or wading at the time. Other deaths around the coast · Four ocean drowning deaths 16 occurred during 2008-09, all involving boating while one coastal death was also recorded.


Coastal drowning deaths in 2008-09 3 – South Australia – Graphs

Graph 17: Month of SA coastal drowning death

Graph 18: Day of SA coastal drowning death

3

4

3 2 2 1 1

0

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Graph 19: Time of SA coastal drowning death

0

Mon

Tue

Wed

Thu

Fri

Sat

Sun

Graph 20: Activity of person prior to drowning – SA

3

11.0%

11.0%

Boating (incl. fishing) 22.0%

2

Diving/snorkeling Other/unknown Swimming/wading Watercraft (non-powered)

1 44.0%

11.0%

Mid nig

ht 1a 1am m 2a 2am m 3a 3am m -4 4a a m m 5a 5am m 6a 6am m 7a 7am m 8a 8am m 9a - 9a m m 10 - 10 am am 11 - 11a am m No Noon on 1p 1pm m 2p 2pm m -3 3p m pm 4p 4pm m -5 p 5p m m 6p 6pm m 7p 7pm m 8p 8pm m 9p - 9p m m 10 - 10 p p 11 m - m 11 pm - M pm idn igh t

0

Total: 10

Unknown: 0

2009 – National Coastal Safety Report – 13


Coastal drowning deaths in 2008-09 3 – Victoria Number of coastal drowning fatalities · Ten coastal drowning deaths occurred in Victoria in 2008-09, a decrease of eight on the previous year. · The annual total is lower than the state’s five year average of 13. Who were they? · There were three (30%) coastal drowning victims in both the 20 to 29 year and 30 to 40 year age-bracket. In the previous year, eight (44%) were in their late teens or twenties. · At least two (20%) of the nine drowning death victims were confirmed as foreign nationals by birthplace or nationality. Where did the drowning deaths occur? · Seven (70%) coastal drowning deaths occurred less than 1km from a lifesaving service17 and two (20%) occurred more than 5km from a lifesaving service. · Nine (90%) of coastal drowning deaths occurred at a beach location and seven (70%) occurred close to a patrolled location 18. · Four (40%) coastal drowning deaths occurred in the local government area of Kingston.

14 – 2009 – National Coastal Safety Report

When did the drowning deaths occur? · Two (20%) coastal drowning deaths occurred between 4pm and 5pm and five (50%) occurred between 6pm and 8am. · Two (20%) occurred on Saturday and eight (80%) occurred during the week. · Three (30%) drowning deaths occurred during January with two in both February and March. · Seven (70%) occurred during summer (December to March.) What were the people doing when the drowning deaths occurred? · Around the coastline, six (60%) of all those who died by drowning were swimming or wading at the time. Other deaths around the coast · One ocean drowning death19 was recorded during 2008-09 which involved an apparent diving accident. 3 Refers

to year commencing 1 July 2008 and finishing on 30 June 2009. 17 See glossary.

18 Ibid 19 Ibid.


Coastal drowning deaths in 2008-09 3 – Victoria – Graphs

Graph 23: Month of Vic coastal drowning death

Graph 24: Day of Vic coastal drowning death

2

3

2 1 1

0

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Graph 25: Time of Vic coastal drowning death

0

Mon

Tue

Wed

Thu

Fri

Sat

Sun

Graph 26: Activity of person prior to coastal drowning death - Vic

2 60.0%

10.0%

Boating (incl. fishing) 30.0%

Other/unknown Swimming/wading

1

1a

Mid

nig

ht -1 m am 2a 2am m 3a 3am m 4a 4am m 5a 5am m 6a 6am m 7a 7am m 8a 8am m 9a - 9a m m 10 - 10 am am 1 11 am 1am No Noon on 1p 1pm m 2p 2pm m 3p 3pm m 4p 4pm m 5p 5pm m 6p 6pm m 7p 7pm m 8p 8pm m 9p - 9p m m 10 - 10 p p 11 m - m 11 pm - M pm idn igh t

0

Total: 10

Unknown: 0

2009 – National Coastal Safety Report – 15


Coastal drowning deaths in 2008-093 – Western Australia Number of coastal drowning fatalities · 14 coastal drowning deaths occurred in Western Australia during 2008-09, an increase of four on the previous year. · The annual total is higher than the state’s five year average of 11. Who were they? · There were four (29%) coastal drowning victims in both the 50 to 60 year age-bracket. In the previous year, the drowning deaths were primarily in the 20 to 29 year age-bracket (three or 30%). · At least four (29%) of the nine drowning death victims were confirmed as foreign nationals by birthplace or nationality. Where did the drowning deaths occur? · Three (21%) coastal drowning deaths occurred less than 1km from a lifesaving service20 and nine (64%) occurred more than 5km from a lifesaving service. · Thirteen (93%) of coastal drowning deaths occurred at a beach location and two (14%) occurred close to a patrolled location21. 3 Refers

to year commencing 1 July 2008 and finishing on 30 June 2009.

16 – 2009 – National Coastal Safety Report

20 See

glossary.

21 Ibid 22 Ibid.

When did the drowning deaths occur? · Two (14%) coastal drowning deaths occurred between 11am and 12pm, and also between 3pm and 4pm. · Four (29%) occurred on Sunday and ten (71%) occurred during the week. · Three (21%) drowning deaths occurred during May and four (29%) occurred during summer (December to March). What were the people doing when the drowning deaths occurred? · Around the coastline, four (29%) of all those who died by drowning were swimming or wading at the time, closely followed three (21%) who drowned while boating. Other deaths around the coast · Four coastal deaths22 occurred during 2008-09, two of which involved diving or snorkelling.


Coastal drowning deaths in 2008-09 3 – Western Australia – Graphs

Graph 27: Month of WA coastal drowning death

Graph 28: Day of WA coastal drowning death

4

3

3 2 2 1 1

0

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Graph 29: Time of WA coastal drowning death

0

Mon

Tue

Wed

Thu

Fri

Sat

Sun

Graph 30: Activity of person prior to coastal drowning death - WA

3 14.3%

21.4%

Boating (incl. fishing) Diving/snorkeling

2

Fishing (beach & rock) 7.1%

Other/unknown Swimming/wading

1 7.1% 28.6%

21.4%

1a

Mid

nig

ht -1 m am 2a 2am m 3a 3am m 4a 4am m 5a 5am m 6a 6am m 7a 7am m 8a 8am m 9a - 9a m m 10 - 10 am am 1 11 am 1am No Noon on 1p 1pm m 2p 2pm m 3p 3pm m 4p 4pm m 5p 5pm m 6p 6pm m 7p 7pm m 8p 8pm m 9p - 9p m m 10 - 10 p p 11 m - m 11 pm - M pm idn igh t

0

Watercraft (non-powered)

Total: 10

Unknown: 0

2009 – National Coastal Safety Report – 17


Coastal drowning deaths in 2008-09 3 – Tasmania Number of coastal drowning fatalities · Seven coastal drowning deaths occurred in Tasmania during 2008-09 a decrease of one on the previous year. · The annual total is higher than the state’s five year average of five. Who were they? · Similar to the previous year, coastal drowning deaths in 2008-09 did not show any dominant age-bracket ‘cluster’ in the data. · All coastal drowning death victims were believed to originate from Australia. Where did the drowning deaths occur? · Three (43%) coastal drowning deaths occurred between 1km and 5km from a lifesaving service 23 and the same number more than 5km from a lifesaving service. · Two (29%) incidents occurred at a beach but both were away from a patrolled location 24. · Three (43%) coastal drowning deaths occurred in the local government area of Hobart, 3 Refers

to year commencing 1 July 2008 and finishing on 30 June 2009.

23 See

glossary.

When did the drowning deaths occur? · The exact time of death of six (86%) of the seven coastal drowning deaths remains undetermined. · Two (29%) drowning deaths occurred on Saturday with five (71%) occurring during the week. · A double fatality (representing 29% of the annual total) occurred during April 2009 and another two died by drowning during summer (December to March). What were the people doing when the drowning deaths occurred? · Two (29%) coastal drowning deaths occurred while the victims were engaged in fishing at a beach or rock location, compared to the prior year during when four (50%) were swimming or wading at their time of death. Other deaths around the coast · Two ocean drowning deaths 25 occurred in a boating incident off the coast.

24 Ibid. 25 Ibid.

Graph 21: Month of Tas coastal drowning death

Graph 22: Day of Tas coastal drowning death

2

2

1

1

0

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

18 – 2009 – National Coastal Safety Report

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

0

Mon

Tue

Wed

Thu

Fri

Sat

Sun


Coastal drowning deaths in 2008-09 3– Northern Territory There was one coastal drowning incident in the Northern Territory. The victim was a 13 year old male who accidently drowned while playing in Rapid Creek in February 2009. The incident occurred between 1km and 5km from a lifesaving service, however it was not during service season or at a regularly guarded location. 3 Refers

to year commencing 1 July 2008 and finishing on 30 June 2009.

Image courtesy SLSNT

2009 – National Coastal Safety Report – 19


Lifesaving activity around the coast in 2008-09 3 For the first time, data provided by many local government lifeguard services has been included in the overall total of coastal rescues, preventions, first aid treatments and resuscitations undertaken in 2008-09. Previously, only actions conducted by volunteer surf lifesavers, SLSA support operations and SLSA’s Australian Lifeguard Service (ALS) were included. The inclusion of this data provides a more accurate picture of the challenge of keeping Australia’s coastline safe and is an important contribution to evidence-based decision-making. The addition of local government data indicates that lifesaving activity around the coastline has been significantly under-reported in the past. Whereas the number of rescues previously reported in the National Coastal Safety Report has tended to fluctuate between 10,000 and 13,000 annually, the inclusion of local government data suggests that the 2008-09 figure was more than 25,000 26. Different definitions have been used by different providers in compiling these statistics and caution must therefore be used in their interpretation. Table 2: Coastal lifesaving activities – surf lifesavers, support operations and lifeguards NSW

Qld

Vic

SA

WA

Tas

NT

National

Surf lifesavers and support operations Lifeguards

Rescues

5,816 10,813

3,496 3,134

394 313

241 33

601 546

66 2

7 0

10,621 14,841

Total

16,629

6,630

707

274

1,147

68

7

25,462

NSW

Qld

Vic

SA

WA

Tas

NT

National

Preventions Lifesavers (incl. Support Ops)

117,565

50,409

21,257

15,289

3,979

229

137

208,865

Lifeguards

756,986

344,785

26,105

4,533

10,756

53

0

1,113,347

Total

874,551

395,194

47,362

19,822

14,735

282

137

1,322,212

NSW

Qld

Vic

SA

WA

Tas

NT

National

Surf lifesavers and support operations Lifeguards

11,621 26,718

6,240 22,808

1,470 625

691 406

1,664 1,305

89 8

8 0

21,783 47,230

Total

38,339

29,048

2,095

1,097

2,969

97

8

69,013

NSW

Qld

Vic

SA

WA

Tas

NT

National

Surf lifesavers and support operations Lifeguards

43 32

3 13

5 0

3 0

7 6

0 0

0 0

61 26

Total

75

16

5

3

13

0

0

87

First aids

Resuscitations

20 – 2009 – National Coastal Safety Report


Further work is required by all lifesaving providers to improve data collection and validation, consistent with international definitions. Service enhancements during 2008-09 Extending lifesaving services – targeting ‘blackspots’ The Australian Government, through the Department of Health and Ageing, provided SLSA with funding allocated to high priority areas around the Australian coastline during 2008-09. These ‘blackspots’ included: · In Queensland – commencement of roving patrols at Noosa, the enhancement of emergency callout capabilities and the creation of six emergency response groups on the Gold Coast. · In New South Wales – installation of emergency response beacons at Byron Bay, Ballina and Randwick and an extensive upgrade to rescue radio network infrastructure. · In Victoria – expansion of lifeguard services in Mallacoota and Venus as well as improvements to rescue radio network infrastructure in the Bass Coast and adjacent areas. · In Tasmania – extension of lifesaving and lifeguard patrols on the south arm of Prince Fredrick Henry Bay and North Clifton Beach. · In South Australia – expansion of lifeguard services in the local government area of Port Adelaide-Enfield at Semaphore beach, including the construction of a permanent tower, as well as the rollout of a state-wide emergency callout system. · In Western Australia – development of an emergency support operation to service the Geraldton-Greenborough region, including training of a 24 hour call out team and fitting the group with essential equipment such as Rescue Water Craft (RWC). · In the Northern Territory – commencement of a feasibility study into an Offshore Rescue Boat (ORB) operation to service Darwin.

to year commencing 1 July 2008 and finishing on 30 June 2009. 26 Data provided by City of Stirling, Coffs Harbour City Council, Gold Coast City Council, Gosford City Council, Kiama Municipal Council, Lake Macquarie City Council, Manly Council, Newcastle City Council, Port MacquarieHastings Council, Shire of Augusta-Margaret River, Sunshine Coast Regional Council, Sutherland Shire Council, Warringah Council, Waverley Council, Wollongong City Council. Five councils (Randwick, Shellharbour, Broome, Denmark and Wyong) were not able to provide lifesaving data for the preparation of this report.

How can we reduce coastal drowning deaths? Australian Water Safety Strategy 2008-11 The Australian Water Safety Strategy 27 aims to achieve a 50% reduction in drowning deaths by the year 2020. This is an ambitious undertaking, but one the Australian Water Safety Council (AWSC) believes is achievable through a strong, collaborative and evidencebased approach. To achieve this goal, Surf Life Saving draws on its own organisational strategic plan Saving Lives in the Water 2007-11 and its lifesaving strategy – the Total Service Plan 2009-11. The Total Service Plan includes an analysis of incident data including: · SLSA’s and other providers’ current coastal lifesaving and marine emergency response capability · Five-year coastal drowning figures 2004-09 (based on annual National Coastal Safety Report data) · Population characteristics and trends, including tourism, and · Current education programs and national initiatives. The analysis identifies national ‘blackspots’,‘hotspots’ and service gaps across the spectra of beach safety, population trends and growth. This will form the basis for the extension of SLSA lifesaving services and programs at national, state and local government levels.

3 Refers 

27

See www.watersafety.com.au for full details.

2009 – National Coastal Safety Report – 21


Preventing drowning – new initiatives

The Australian Government, through the Department of Health and Ageing, has provided funding to Surf Life Saving Australia (SLSA) to improve water safety outcomes through several campaigns developed during 2009-10. Rock fishing safety campaign Rock fishing is a highly popular pastime, despite being named ‘the most dangerous sport in Australia’. According to the Safewaters report into the NSW coronial files between 1992 and 2003, rock fishing has the highest fatality rate of any sport in NSW. It also carries significant social burdens such as a constant drain on the medical system, loss of income and productivity and the high cost of search and rescue. In partnership with the Australian National Sportfishing Association (ANSA), the Recreational Fishing Alliance of NSW (RFANSW) and the Australian Recreational and Sport Fishing Industry Confederation (Recfish), a new intervention strategy, including new educational resources and community seminars, will be launched in late 2009. Rips currents safety campaign SLSA statistics demonstrate that the majority of coastal drowning deaths and serious injuries involve rip currents. A multi-faceted public education campaign is planned for early summer. This is a significant initiative for SLSA, as it will be the first time a message other than the universal ‘swim between the red and yellow flags’ is promoted. A variety of communication channels will be used, including the web.

22 – 2009 – National Coastal Safety Report

CALD beach safety campaign SLSA statistics demonstrate that people of culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds and foreign nationals are over-represented in coastal drownings. SLSA is producing a multi-lingual DVD and interactive game to provide basic surf safety messages in a range of languages. Public safety education resources As previously noted, Australia has a network of services provided by volunteer surf lifesavers, council-employed (or contracted) lifeguards, rescue helicopters, boats, jetskis, cameras and radio control rooms. By working with other lifesaving providers, in particular local government, SLSA will assist in the development of industrystandard educational materials to deliver consistent safety messages throughout Australia. These materials will be ‘free-for-use’ by any beach education provider. Smarter lifesaving services Given the diversity of SLSA’s operations, an effective information and communications technology (ICT) system is vital to its ongoing ability to adapt to, and continue to meet, the needs of the community. A project to revolutionise SLSA’s existing ICT systems has begun, which will provide real-time access to information and business operations anywhere, anytime. Importantly, it will improve workflows and reduce workloads across all SLSA operational activities, thus optimising usage of funds and lifesaving resources. Ultimately, it is envisaged that the systems will enable cross-aquatic emergency management, agency coordination and collaborative information sharing.


Thanks to Surf Life Saving Australia wishes to thank the following people and organisations for their contribution to the 2009 National Coastal Safety Report:

Index and glossary of terms

The Australian Government, principally the Department of Health and Ageing; local government lifeguard services provided through the Australian Lifeguard Service – NSW: Tweed Shire, Salt Resorts, Kidsafe Beaches Inc., Byron Shire, Ballina Shire, Richmond Valley, Clarence Valley, Bellingen Shire, Nambucca Shire, Kempsey Shire, Greater Taree City, Great Lakes, Port Stephens, Pittwater, National Parks and Wildlife Service, Shoalhaven City, Eurobodalla Shire, Bega Valley Shire Qld: Burdekin Shire, Bundaberg, Cairns City, Cassowary Coast, Fraser Coast, Gladstone, Gympie, Hinchinbrook, Mackay, Morton Bay, Rockhampton, Redland, Southbank Corporation, Townsville City, Whitsunday Regional Vic: East Gippsland Shire, Wellington Shire, Parks Victoria – Wilsons Promontory, South Gippsland Shire; Bass Coast Shire, Mornington Peninsula Shire, Borough of Queenscliffe, City of Greater Geelong, Surf Coast Shire, Colac Shire, Warrnambool City, Moyne Shire SA: Holdfast Bay City WA: City of Wanneroo, City of Joondalup, Town of Cambridge, Town of Cottesloe, City of Rockingham, Shire of Busselton, City of Geraldton – Greenough, City of Albany Tas: Clarence City NT: Darwin City; local counciloperated lifeguard services – City of Stirling, Coffs Harbour City Council, Gold Coast City Council, Gosford City Council, Kiama Municipal Council, Lake Macquarie City Council, Manly Council, Newcastle City Council, Port Macquarie-Hastings Council, Shire of Augusta-Margaret River, Sunshine Coast Regional Council, Sutherland Shire Council, Warringah Council, Waverley Council, Wollongong City Council; SLSA partners including DHL, Telstra and Westpac; Surf Life Saving state centres, branches, clubs and support operations; SLSA expert advisors, including Barry Bruce (CSIRO Marine & Atmospheric Research), John West (Taronga Conservation Society Australia, Taronga Zoo)

Term

Simple definition

ALS

SLSA Australian Lifeguard Service.

AWSC

Australian Water Safety Council – also Australian Water Safety Conference.

AWSS

Australian Water Safety Strategy.

Blackspot

An area with a high concentration of coastal/ocean incidents and a high probability/risk of ongoing reoccurrence.

Drowning

Respiratory impairment as a result of submersion/immersion in liquid

Drowning death

A fatality arising from the process of respiratory impairment as a result of submersion/immersion in liquid. A ‘coastal drowning death’ occurs where the location of the drowning is on the coast or in the ocean up to 1nM offshore. An ‘ocean drowning death’ occurs where the location of the drowning is in the ocean greaterw than 1nm offshore, but no greater than 12nm (the Australian territorial waters limit).

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.

IRB

Inflatable rescue boat or ‘rubber duckies’.

JRB

Jet rescue boat.

Lifeguard

Typically a paid employee at a beach or another aquatic environment whose job is to rescue people in danger of drowning or prevent them getting into that situation.

Lifesaving service

A service which exists to provide aquatic safety services to the public.

NCIS

National Coroners Information System.

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.

RIB

Rigid inflatable boat.

RWC

Rescue water craft – sometimes called a personal water craft.

Service season & hours

Vary between states due to climactic factors, but in the context of this report, the season is for the period of July 2008 to June 2009.

Support Operations

Motorised, rapid response rescue units, not tied to any one surf life saving club.

Surf lifesaver

Typically a volunteer at a beach or another aquatic environment whose job is to rescue people in danger of drowning or prevent them getting into that situation.

Service Gap

An area identified as having an inadequate level of resources to meet public safety demands.

Total Service Plan

An assessment of current and future lifesaving resources, national blackspots, hotspots and trends.

2009 – National Coastal Safety Report – 23


For more information: Surf Life Saving Australia www.slsa.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 Australian Lifeguard Service www.lifeguards.com.au For information on local government lifeguard services, contact the relevant local government. To help Surf Life Saving save more lives, please donate to the Surf Life Saving Foundation. www.lifesavingfoundation.com.au

Editor: SLSA Design: Marlin Communications Images: Harvpix /John Veage

2009 National Coastal Safety Report  

2009 National Coastal Safety Report