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COA S TAL SAFE T Y BRIE F S NORKE LLING AND SCUBA DIVING S U R F L I FE S AV I N G AU S T R A L I A


SNORKELLING SNAPSHOT 2 0 0 4 -1 8

ANALYSIS On average, seven people drown per year as a result of snorkelling. Together with scuba diving, it’s one of the top ten National Safety Agenda issues.

AVERAGE DEATHS PER YEAR

AVERAGE FATALITY RATE

FATALITIES

0.03

7

0 37

24 4

94

PER 100,000 POPULATION

21 7 1

LOCATION

KEY DEMOGRAPHIC MEN AGED

7% 1% 2% 2%

9%

Australian residents with Australian, Asian or European background; Asian and European tourists 46%

Beach Offshore Rock/Cliff Bay Jetty Coastal pool/ bath Coastal creek

46% BEACH

33%

20–34

45 85% 60% AVERAGE AGE

MALE

PARTICIPATION1 • 1.9 million snorkellers • 0.4 million frequent snorkellers (at least once per month) • 125 hours per frequent snorkeller annually

SNORKELLING DROWNING DEATHS TREND

INTERNATIONAL COUNTRY OF BIRTH

CONTRIBUTING FACTORS 0.07

Rate per 100,000 pop. Total drowning deaths 0.05 0.04 0.03

0.03

0.04

0.03

0.01

0.01

5

2

3

3

9

4

7

7

11

0.0 1

7

9

16

10

2005-06

2006-07

2007-08

2008-09

2009-10

2010-11

2011-12

2012-13

2013-14

2014-15

2015-16

2016-17

2017-18

0.02 0.01

2004-05

0.02

0.04

35% MEDICAL/INJURY (OF KNOWN CASES)

78%

MORE THAN 5 KM FROM A LIFESAVING SERVICE (OF KNOWN CASES) Reference: SLSA National Coastal Safety Report 2018

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COASTAL SAFET Y BRIEF – SNORKELLING SNORKELLING && SCUBA SCUBA DIVING DIVING


SCUBA DIVING SNAPSHOT 2 0 0 4 -1 8

ANALYSIS On average, four people drown per year as a result of scuba diving. Together with snorkelling, it’s one of the top ten National Safety Agenda issues.

AVERAGE DEATHS PER YEAR

AVERAGE FATALITY RATE

FATALITIES

0.02

4

0 9

10 4

59

PER 100,000 POPULATION

16 15 5

LOCATION

KEY DEMOGRAPHIC

2%

10%

Australian residents with Australian, Asian or European background 59%

59%

20%

35–50

MEN AGED

8%

MALE

Offshore Bay Rock/Cliff Beach Jetty

OFFSHORE

PARTICIPATION

1

• 0.4 million scuba divers • 0.2 million frequent scuba divers (at least once per month) • 90 hours per frequent scuba diver annually

INTERNATIONAL COUNTRY OF BIRTH

SCUBA DIVING DROWNING DEATHS TREND

CONTRIBUTING FACTORS

0.04

Rate per 100,000 pop. Total drowning deaths 0.03

0.03

0.02

0.01

MEDICAL/INJURY (OF KNOWN CASES)

0.01

0.01

0.01

0.00

6 2016-17

8 2015-16

7 2014-15

7 2013-14

3 2012-13

9 2011-12

3 2010-11

2 2009-10

4 2008-09

3 2007-08

1 2006-07

3 2005-06

2004-05

3

0.00

0 2017-18

0.01

42%

0.03

0.02

0.01

43 78% 36% AVERAGE AGE

60%

MORE THAN 5 KM FROM A LIFESAVING SERVICE (OF KNOWN CASES)

Reference: SLSA National Coastal Safety Report 2018

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COASTAL SAFET Y BRIEF – SNORKELLING & SCUBA DIVING


SNORKELLING AND SCUBA DIVING IN AUSTR ALIA

WHAT IS THE ISSUE? Snorkelling and scuba diving have become priority activities for Surf Life Saving Australia (SLSA) to monitor, due to the increasing prevalence of drowning deaths in coastal waters. Since 2004 SLSA has recorded 94 snorkelling and 59 scuba diving drowning deaths respectively, however, in more recent years the average number of fatalities has been above the 14-year average2. ABOUT THE REPORT This report presents trends in Australian drowning deaths for participants in snorkelling and scuba diving. The snorkelling data is inclusive of fatalities of free divers, spearfishers and abalone fishers, where snorkelling was the primary activity. Data in this report does not include fatalities due to other causal factors (e.g. medical issues). Furthermore, this report highlights the participation trends of Australian adults in snorkelling and scuba diving activities. In 2018, participation in snorkelling was greater than both surfing and watercraft activities and similar to those who go boating. In comparison, scuba diving participation is much less common, however, half of all scuba diving participants go frequently (at least once per month). This is significant as the majority of adults in other coastal activities are occasional participants. MOVING FORWARD Participation in both snorkelling and scuba diving is common around most of the Australian coastline. While SLSA continues to monitor drowning fatalities in these activities, it has commenced further research into causal factors and other contributing factors for snorkelling and diving deaths.

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COASTAL SAFET Y BRIEF – SNORKELLING SNORKELLING && SCUBA SCUBA DIVING DIVING


L O C AT I O N SNORKELLING & SCUBA DIVING FATALITIES 2004-2018 DARWIN

2

2

7 3

2

0

2

5 2

46

3

34

6

2

8

BRISBANE 2

37

2 2

2

2

2

PERTH 2

2

ADELAIDE

2

SYDNEY CANBERRA MELBOURNE

0

3 6 2

2 2

1,000km

2 2

SCALE 2

2

3

22

Key to Drowning Activity Scuba Diving Snorkelling Multiple instances per activity at the same location Capital city

2 3

2 3 2

6

HOBART

Reference: SLSA National Coastal Safety Report 2018

2004-2018

SNORKELLING & SCUBA DIVING DROWNING DEATHS BY STATE (N=153)

BLACKSPOTS

Snorkelling

1% 4% 22% 8% 7%

26%

27%

Scuba Diving

17%

15% 7%

25% 39%

SCUBA DIVING

QLD

VIC

CAIRNS REGION (17)

MORNINGTON PENINSULA (6)

WHITSUNDAY REGION (6)

NSW

WA

CENTRAL COAST COUNCIL (4)

EXMOUTH SHIRE (6)

TWEED SHIRE (3)

CARNARVON SHIRE (4)

NSW QLD VIC WA SA TAS

SURF LIFE SAVING AUSTR ALIA

SNORKELLING

NSW RANDWICK CITY COUNCIL (5) EUROBODALLA SHIRE (4)

5

COASTAL SAFET Y BRIEF – SNORKELLING & SCUBA DIVING


SNORKELLING

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COASTAL SAFET Y BRIEF – SNORKELLING & SCUBA DIVING


C A U S A L A N A LY S I S S N O R K E L L I N G 2 0 0 4 -1 8

WHEN

WHERE

WHY

35%

59% LIVED MORE THAN 50KM FROM DROWNING LOCATION

AFTERNOON (12-6PM)

MEDICAL ISSUE OR INJURY (OF KNOWN CASES)

QLD

41% OCT - DEC

OF MEDICAL ISSUES ARE HEART RELATED

WHERE

86% OF QLD INCIDENTS HAPPENED ON THE GREAT BARRIER REEF

11% MORE THAN 1KM FROM A LIFESAVING SERVICE (OF KNOWN CASES)

AFFECTED BY ALCOHOL OR DRUGS

Reference: SLSA National Coastal Safety Report 2018

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COASTAL SAFET Y BRIEF – SNORKELLING SNORKELLING && SCUBA SCUBA DIVING DIVING


C A U S A L A N A LY S I S S N O R K E L L I N G 2 0 0 4 -1 8

WHO

85% MALE

36%

45 years

27%

AGED 20 - 34

AVERAGE AGE OF DECEASED

AGED 60 - 74

REGION OF RESIDENCE 3%

REGION OF BIRTH

6% 20% 31%

14% 1% 1%

60%

17%

3% 60% Australia Asia Europe Americas Unknown

AUSTRALIA

31%

3%

ASIA

20%

20%

Asia Australia Europe Americas Oceania Africa Middle East Unknown

21%

DROWNING LOCATION

SPEARFISHING

7% 9%

1% 2% 2%

46% 33%

BEACH

7%

46%

FREEDIVING

Beach Offshore Rock/Cliff Bay Jetty Coastal pool/bath Coastal creek

5% FREEDIVING FOR ABALONE Reference: National Coastal Safety Report 2018

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COASTAL SAFET Y BRIEF – SNORKELLING & SCUBA DIVING


C A U S A L A N A LY S I S S N O R K E L L I N G 2 0 0 4 -1 8

AGE & GENDER Female Male

2004-2018

SNORKELLING DROWNING DEATHS BY AGE AND GENDER (N=94)

3

3

1

12

1

10 9

0

0

0-4

5-9

0

1

10

1 7

6

3

6

5

1 5

1

4

1

3

1

0

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+

TIME 13 12

2004-2018

SNORKELLING DROWNING DEATHS BY TIME (N=79*)

9 7

8

*Of known times.

5 3

4

5

3

4

2

3 0 11 - 12am

8 - 9pm

0 10 - 11pm

0

9 - 10pm

0 7 - 8pm

6 - 7pm

5 - 6pm

4 - 5pm

3 - 4pm

5 - 6am

1 - 2pm

4 - 5am

2 - 3pm

3 - 4am

12 - 1pm

2 - 3am

11 - 12pm

1 - 2am

MONTH

10 - 11am

0 9 - 10am

0

8 - 9am

0

7 - 8am

0

6 - 7am

0

12 - 1am

1 0

15 14 12

2004-2018

10

SNORKELLING DROWNING DEATHS BY MONTH (N=94)

10 8 7

6

5

5

1

1 July

August

September October November December

January

February

March

April

May

June

Reference: National Coastal Safety Report 2018

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COASTAL SAFET Y BRIEF – SNORKELLING & SCUBA DIVING


P A R T I C I P AT I O N P R O F I L E SNORKELLING

PARTICIPATION BY STATE Percentage of state populations who participate in snorkelling

1.9 million Snorkellers

8%

(12% of population)

11%

0.4 million

14%

Frequent snorkellers

9%

(at least once a month)

13%

145 hours

9%

Per frequent snorkeller (per year on average)

16%

NATIONAL PARTICIPATION 2018

2018

NATIONAL PARTICIPATION IN SNORKELLING BY GENDER

NATIONAL PARTICIPATION IN SNORKELLING BY AGE GROUP

Male

Female

70+

Total

50-69

35-49

25-34

16-24

0% 13%

6% 11%

11% 17% 12%

17%

Reference: National Coastal Safety Survey 2018

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COASTAL SAFET Y BRIEF – SNORKELLING & SCUBA DIVING


P A R T I C I P AT I O N P R O F I L E SNORKELLING

2018

SWIMMING ABILITY OF FREQUENT AND OCCASIONAL SNORKELLERS IN THE OCEAN

Frequent Snorkellers

8%

Occasional Snorkellers 22%

26%

SNORKELLERS ARE WEAK SWIMMERS OR CAN’T SWIM IN THE OCEAN

39%

Swimming Ability 35%

70%

Competent or highly competent swimmer Average swimmer Unable to swim or weak swimmer

27%

2018

MEDIA SNORKELLERS USE TO SEEK SAFETY INFORMATION

Other

11%

Radio

10%

TV

10%

None of these/ can't say Using an app on smartphone or tablet

22%

USUALLY SNORKEL AT AN UNPATROLLED BEACH OR COASTLINE

13% 26% 76%

Online

63%

SNORKELLERS SAY THEY CAN SWIM 50M IN THE OCEAN WITHOUT STOPPING OR TOUCHING THE BOTTOM Reference: National Coastal Safety Survey 2018

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COASTAL SAFET Y BRIEF – SNORKELLING & SCUBA DIVING


P A R T I C I P AT I O N P R O F I L E SNORKELLING

2018

EQUIPMENT USED OR CARRIED BY SNORKELLERS

Other

6%

14%

Shark deterrent device

21%

Whistle

22%

Dive flag

28%

Lifejacket

31%

Buoyancy aid

92%

Flippers

2018

SAFETY PRACTICES OF SNORKELLERS Never

Can’t say 3% 1% 26%

21%

1% 5% 18%

Sometimes

Most of the time 1%

1% 2%

10%

1% 3%

9%

20%

10%

22% 15%

24% 19%

Always 1% 2%

9% 16%

20%

1%

1% 5% 26% 16%

19%

21% 14%

40%

Check conditions with an authoritative source

71% 46%

Have a dive plan and an emergency plan

56%

73%

78% 14%

64%

57%

40%

Use necessary safety equipment including buoyancy aids, lifejacket and flippers

Snorkel with at least one other person you know

Consistently monitor location/ conditions

Follow all relevant laws and regulations applicable to snorkelling

Snorkel in conditions or to a depth that is appropriate to your level

Avoid snorkelling under the influence of alcohol/drugs

Reference: National Coastal Safety Survey 2018

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COASTAL SAFET Y BRIEF – SNORKELLING & SCUBA DIVING


SCUBA DIVING

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COASTAL SAFET Y BRIEF – SNORKELLING & SCUBA DIVING


C A U S A L A N A LY S I S S C U B A D I V I N G 2 0 0 4 -1 8

WHERE

WHEN

WHY

42%

58% LIVED MORE THAN 50KM FROM DROWNING LOCATION

AFTERNOON (12-6PM)

MEDICAL ISSUE OR INJURY (OF KNOWN CASES)

NSW

33% OCT - JAN

OF MEDICAL ISSUES ARE HEART PROBLEMS

WHERE

59% MORE THAN 500M FROM THE COASTLINE (OFFSHORE)

14% MORE THAN 1KM FROM A LIFESAVING SERVICE (OF KNOWN CASES)

AFFECTED BY DRUGS

Reference: SLSA National Coastal Safety Report 2018

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COASTAL SAFET Y BRIEF – SNORKELLING SNORKELLING && SCUBA SCUBA DIVING DIVING


C A U S A L A N A LY S I S S C U B A D I V I N G 2 0 0 4 -1 8

WHO

78% MALE

46% AGED 40 - 54

AVERAGE AGE OF DECEASED

AGED 30 - 39

REGION OF RESIDENCE 5%

43

25%

REGION OF BIRTH

3%

7% 31%

85%

Australia Europe Asia Americas

85%

AUSTRALIA 5%

15% 10%

DROWNING LOCATION

Australia Europe Asia Americas Africa Unknown

22%

DIVING FOR CRAY FISH, ABALONE, SHELLFISH OR PEARLS

8%

20%

34%

5%

AUSTRALIA

10%

34%

2%

59%

OFFSHORE

60%

59%

EXPERIENCED OR HIGHLY EXPERIENCED (OF KNOWN CASES)

Offshore Bay Rock/Cliff Beach Jetty

98% WERE WITH OTHER DIVERS

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COASTAL SAFET Y BRIEF – SNORKELLING & SCUBA DIVING


C A U S A L A N A LY S I S S C U B A D I V I N G 2 0 0 4 -1 8

AGE

Female Male

2004-2018

2

SCUBA DIVING DROWNING DEATHS BY

3

6

AGE AND GENDER (N=59)

1

2 9

4

8 6

2 2 0

0

0-4

5-9

2

1

0

1

6

5 3

2

1

2

1

0

0

0

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+

TIME 11

2004-2018 8

SCUBA DIVING DROWNING DEATHS BY TIME (N=55*)

6

*Of known times.

6

5

5

4 3 2 0

0 11 - 12am

8 - 9pm

0

10 - 11pm

0

9 - 10pm

0 7 - 8pm

6 - 7pm

4 - 5pm

5 - 6pm

3 - 4pm

5 - 6am

2 - 3pm

4 - 5am

1 - 2pm

3 - 4am

12 - 1pm

2 - 3am

10 - 11am

1 - 2am

1

2

0 11 - 12pm

0 9 - 10am

0

8 - 9am

0

7 - 8am

0

6 - 7am

0

12 - 1am

2 0

11

MONTH

9

2004-2018

7

SCUBA DIVING DROWNING DEATHS BY MONTH (N=59)

6 5

5

4 3

3

3 2

1

July

August

September October November December

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January

February

March

April

May

COASTAL SAFET Y BRIEF – SNORKELLING & SCUBA DIVING

June


P A R T I C I P AT I O N P R O F I L E SCUBA DIVING

PARTICIPATION BY STATE Percentage of state populations who participate in scuba diving

0.4 million Scuba divers

0%

(2% of population)

1%

0.2 million

3%

Frequent scuba divers

3%

(at least once a month)

2%

90 hours

3%

Per frequent scuba diver (per year on average)

3%

NATIONAL PARTICIPATION 2018

2018

NATIONAL PARTICIPATION IN SCUBA DIVING

NATIONAL PARTICIPATION IN SCUBA DIVING

ACTIVITIES BY GENDER

ACTIVITIES BY AGE GROUP

Male

Female

70+

Total

50-69

35-49

25-34

16-24

0% 4%

1% 2%

1%

3% 2%

4%

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COASTAL SAFET Y BRIEF – SNORKELLING & SCUBA DIVING


P A R T I C I P AT I O N P R O F I L E SCUBA DIVING

2018

SWIMMING ABILITY IN THE OCEAN OF SCUBA DIVERS

Frequent Scuba Divers

10% 4%

6%

Occasional Scuba Divers

SCUBA DIVERS SAY THEY CAN SWIM 50M IN THE OCEAN WITHOUT STOPPING OR TOUCHING THE BOTTOM

62% 34%

Swimming Ability Competent or highly competent swimmer Average swimmer Unable to swim or weak swimmer

81%

78%

2018

USUAL SCUBA DIVING LOCATIONS

37%

9%

USUALLY SCUBA DIVE AT OFFSHORE LOCATIONS

28% 16%

28%

OFFSHORE 21% 23%

Off shore more than 2 nautical miles (3.7km) Bay or harbour Patrolled beach during patrolled hours only Unpatrolled beach or coastline Off shore less than 2 nautical miles (3.7km)

75%

Data doesn’t add to 100% due to participants who answered ‘can’t say’

USE AN ONLINE SOURCE TO SEEK COASTAL SAFETY INFORMATION Reference: National Coastal Safety Survey 2018

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COASTAL SAFET Y BRIEF – SNORKELLING & SCUBA DIVING


P A R T I C I P AT I O N P R O F I L E SCUBA DIVING

2018

EQUIPMENT USED OR CARRIED BY SCUBA DIVERS

6%

Other

25%

Shark deterrent device

37%

Lifejacket

51%

Whistle

56%

Spare air tank

64%

Dive flag

82%

Secondary regulator

Buoyancy aid

85%

Flippers

85%

2018

SAFETY PRACTICES OF SCUBA DIVERS Never

Can’t say

5%

6%

12%

13%

13%

5% 19%

2%

11%

Sometimes 1%

2% 19%

Most of the time 4% 12%

8%

84%

84%

8%

Always 4% 11%

4% 3%

11%

21%

75%

4% 6%

76%

77%

80%

Consistently monitor air levels

Have a dive plan and an emergency plan

Have a dive plan and an emergency plan

86%

90%

94%

55%

Check conditions with an authoritative source

Follow all relevant laws and regulations applicable to scuba diving

SURF LIFE SAVING AUSTR ALIA

Dive with at least one other person you know

19

Dive in conditions or to a depth that is appropriate to your level

Consistently monitor location/ conditions

Use only certified and functioning scuba equipment

Avoid diving under the influence of alcohol/drugs

COASTAL SAFET Y BRIEF – SNORKELLING & SCUBA DIVING


HAZARD PERCEPTION SNORKELLING & SCUBA DIVING

2018

HAZARD PERCEPTION OF SNORKELLING – FREQUENT VS OCCASIONAL PARTICIPANTS Frequent snorkellers Occassional snorkellers

53% 44%

41%

26%

7%

11%

7% 0%

Extremely hazardous

8%

2% Very hazardous

Somewhat hazardous

Not very hazardous

Not at all hazardous

2018

HAZARD PERCEPTION OF SCUBA DIVING– FREQUENT VS OCCASIONAL PARTICIPANTS Frequent scuba divers Occassional scuba divers

52%

32% 27% 22% 14%

17%

14%

12%

4%

4% Extremely hazardous

Very hazardous

Somewhat hazardous

Not very hazardous

Not at all hazardous

2018

HAZARD PERCEPTION OF THE COAST – SNORKELLERS & SCUBA DIVERS 47%

48% Snorkellers Scuba Divers

25% 21%

21%

15% 8%

7%

6% 2% Extremely hazardous

Very hazardous

Somewhat hazardous

Not very hazardous

Not at all hazardous Reference: National Coastal Safety Survey 2018

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COASTAL SAFET Y BRIEF – SNORKELLING & SCUBA DIVING


IN THE NEWS

I HOPE THIS CASE RAISES THE DANGERS FOR PEOPLE WHO GO FREEDIVING, AND HOW LIMITED TIME THEY HAVE UNDERWATER TO BE RESCUED.

2018

2015

There were no fatal scuba diving incidents in 2018, leaving snorkelling incidents more prominently featured in the media. Freediving and shallow water black-outs in particular received attention after a highprofile incident involving a trained scuba diving instructor. Incidents with tourists at organised chartered snorkelling tours also gained media attention after several incidents in the previous year.

Tourists who fatally drowned while snorkelling or scuba diving in well-known locations such as the Great Barrier Reef, Green Island (QLD) and Exmouth (WA) featured in the news a lot. A larger than average proportion of these individuals were female, which incurred an emotional media response.

ABC News, 12 April 2018

2017 The record high number of fatal snorkelling and scuba diving incidents in 2017 was reflected in the surge of media coverage, often referring to several incidents in the previous weeks. Snorkelling fatalities on the Great Barrier Reef received significant attention after a string of deaths over the Spring period. A scuba diving incident involving a prominent marine scientist triggered a discussion on carbon-monoxide contamination when filling air cylinders.

THE WOMAN WAS NOT A CONFIDENT SWIMMER BUT HAD ENTERED THE WATER ON HER OWN, AWAY FROM THE REST OF THE GROUP.

2016

The West Australian, 9 March 2015

SURF LIFESAVERS SAY THEY HAVE RESCUED A TOTAL OF 15 PEOPLE [OFF BEACHES] AFTER THE ABALONE SEASON OPENED OVER THE WEEKEND.

There was little coverage of snorkelling and scuba diving related incidents in 2016, possibly due to the high number of boating and swimming drowning deaths that were recorded. Although there was a concerning number of freediving deaths, an attempted rescue of a scuba diving instructor was featured most prominently.

2014 There were relatively few snorkelling and scuba diving fatalities in 2014, which saw little media coverage on these activities. Scuba diving incidents involving tourists received some attention after drowning deaths occurred in fair weather conditions without a clear causation.

2013 Abalone fishing incidents in WA and VIC dominated the snorkelling and scuba diving related media this year. Emergency services took to the media with safety messages targeted at abalone fishers during the WA abalone season. A string of snorkelling deaths prompted the media to also advise the public to recreate between the flags.

ABC News, 5 November 2013

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COASTAL SAFET Y BRIEF – SNORKELLING & SCUBA DIVING


CONCLUSION

SLSA recorded a total of 153 snorkelling and scuba diving drowning deaths over the 14-year period from July 2004 to June 2018. That accounts for an annual average of 11 deaths per year. The number of deaths fluctuates from year to year, but as a trend the number of snorkelling drowning deaths around Australia has been rising steadily and there have been peaks in scuba diving fatalities in more recent years.

Snorkelling and scuba diving are very popular activities in Australia. Fourteen per cent of the Australian adult population snorkel and/ or scuba dive at least once a year. This equates to approximately 2.3 million people. In addition, around 700,000 international tourists snorkel or scuba dive on Australian beaches and offshore reefs to experience world-famous destinations such as the Great Barrier Reef (Tourism Research Australia, 2018).

Almost all scuba diving victims (98%) were diving with other people and 60% were experienced or even highly experienced divers. This suggests that scuba diving incidents are not necessarily an effect of inexperience or negligence, but rather happen in moments of inattention or panic. Scuba diving does not leave much room for error and a small mistake or pushing your physical limits may have severe consequences. Further, medical conditions and injuries played a notable role in a large proportion of snorkelling and scuba diving incidents (38%). Cardiac issues were the most common cause of medical-related drowning deaths. Snorkelling and scuba diving can put pressure on existing medical conditions and failing to mention or ignoring these have played a prominent part in many drowning fatalities. Most snorkelling and scuba diving deaths occurred in Queensland, Western Australia, and New South Wales. In Queensland, the majority of snorkelling fatalities occurred on the Great Barrier Reef, either during organised snorkelling tours or private snorkelling trips. Similarly, more than half of all scuba diving drowning deaths were recorded at offshore locations. As such, it is not surprising that 87% of snorkelling incidents happened more than a kilometre from a lifesaving service. Therefore, the high level of training and responsibility of individuals and tour operators is significant, as it can save lives and prevent participants from making fatal mistakes. Spearfishing and freediving are emerging issues in this space, as they are becoming more common in SLSA’s drowning database. Almost one-third of snorkelling incidents (32%) involved these activities. Freediving has become increasingly popular in recent years and have a high risk associated with them (Mijacika & Dujic 2016; Durkan 2017). While most snorkellers say they take basic safety precautions, like avoiding alcohol and drugs and staying within their skill level, not all check coastal conditions or snorkel with a buddy. Similarly, around one-quarter of scuba divers, who are required to be qualified, say they don’t always follow the laws and regulations applicable to scuba diving. These simple safety practices can make a big difference if they get into difficulties and could have saved several lives.

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Another issue occurs during the short, highly regulated fishing seasons, like the abalone fishing season, that sees large influxes of scuba divers, freedivers and snorkellers in dangerous locations at the same time (SLSWA 2018; Dept. of Primary Industry and Regional Development 2018).

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REFERENCES

COASTAL SAFETY REPORT 2018

REFERENCES

Š 2018 Surf Life Saving Australia

The Surf Life Saving Australia National Coastal Safety Report (NCSR) is published annually and contains information on Australian community behaviours and attitudes to the coast; SLS capability and membership capacity; rescues and emergency response; and coastal drowning deaths. The 2018 NCSR represents the statistics from the period of 1 July 2017 to 30 June 2018. Trend analyses from 2004-18 are also included.

Australian Lifeguard Magazine (2017). Issue 13. SLSA: Sydney.

This publication is copyright. Except as expressly provided in the Copyright Act 1968 and the Copyright Amendment Act 2006, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in any retrieval systems or transmitted by any means including electronic, mechanical, microcopying, photocopying, recording or otherwise) without prior permission from Surf Life Saving Australia.

All care is taken to ensure the statistical information included within this report is correct. However, pending the outcome of ongoing coronial investigations and as SLS state/territory entities update their operational information, this data may be amended. SURF LIFE SAVING AUSTRALIA NATIONAL COASTAL SAFETY SURVEYS The annual Surf Life Saving Australia National Coastal Safety Surveys collect information about community swimming ability, behaviours and attitudes to coastal safety. The survey is conducted by Newspoll Market Research and Omnipoll and is run online over a four-day period each April among a national sample of approximately 1,500 respondents aged over 16. The study is carried out in compliance with ISO 20252 - Market, Social and Opinion Research. To reflect the population distribution, results were post-weighted (on age, gender, geographic strata and education) and projected to Australian Bureau of Statistics data.

Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (2018) Abalone recreational fishing guide 2018/19. Accessed 24 October 2018. www.fish.wa.gov.au/ Documents/recreational_fishing/licences/ rec_licence_abalone.pdf Durkan, T. (2017) Understanding freediving blackouts and how to prevent them. The Inertia. Accessed 24 October 2018. www. t h e in e r t ia .c o m /sur f/un d e r s t a n din g freediving-blackoutsand-how-to-preventthem Mijacika, T. & Dujic, Z. (2016) Sports-related lung injury during breath-hold diving. European Respiratory Review 25: 506-512. Surf Life Saving Australia (2018) National Coastal Safety Report. SLSA: Sydney. Surf Life Saving Australia National Coastal Safety Survey (2018). An Omnipoll online panel. Surf Life Saving Western Australia (2018) Abalone Fishing. Accessed 28 October 2018. www.mybeach.com.au/ safetyrescue-services/coastal-recreation/ abalone/#west-coast-zone Tourism Research Unpublished Data.

Australia

For enquiries concerning reproduction, contact SLSA on: phone 02 9215 8000; email: info@slsa.asn.au Every attempt has been made to trace and acknowledge copyright, but in some cases this may not have been possible. Surf Life Saving Australia apologises for any accidental infringements and would welcome any information to redress the situation. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS Surf Life Saving Australia wishes to thank Frederic Anne (Omnipoll) and Anika Martin (Graphic Design) for their contribution to this report.

(2018).

PAGE REFERENCES 1.

SLSA National Coastal Safety Survey 2018

SUGGESTED CITATION

2.

SLSA National Coastal Safety Report 2018

Ryan, A., Rijksen, E., Daw, S., (2018) Coastal Safety Brief: Snorkelling and Scuba Diving. Surf Life Saving Australia: Sydney.

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Profile for SLSA

Coastal Safety Brief- Snorkelling and Scuba Diving  

Coastal Safety Brief- Snorkelling and Scuba Diving