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N ATION AL COA S TAL SAFE T Y RE POR T 2019 S U R F L I FE S AV I N G AU S T R A L I A


DROWNING S N A P S H OT

COASTAL & OCEAN DROWNING DEATHS

MALE

FEMALE Location

AT THE BEACH

ROCK/CLIFF

OFFSHORE

AT LEAST 5KM FROM A LIFESAVING SERVICE

Activity

35% SWIMMING

8%

WATERCRAFT

14% BOATING & PWC

7%

SNORKELLING

1 15

13 23

23 44 3


CONTENTS IN T RO D U C T I O N

04

S EC TION ONE: COM MUNIT Y

06

S EC TION THRE E: DROWNING A N A LYS IS

34

AUS T R A L I A N P O PU L AT I O N

08

N AT I O N A L OV ERV IE W

36

COA S TA L PA RT I CIPAT I O N

09

D ROWNIN G LO C AT I O N S

42

AC T I V I T Y PA RT I CIPAT I O N

10

D ROWNIN G VS FATA L I T Y

44

S WI M M IN G A B IL I T Y

14

NE W S O U T H WA L E S

50

RI S K PERCEP T I O N

15

Q U EEN S L A ND

52

COA S TA L S A FE T Y

16

V I C TO RI A

54

S A FE T Y PR AC T I CE S

17

WE S T ERN AUS T R A L I A

56

F E AT U R E: YO U N G M A L E S

18

S O U T H AUS T R A L I A

58

TA S M A NI A

60

N O RT HERN T ERRI TO RY

62

G LOS S A RY

64

REFEREN CE

66

F E AT U R E: BYS TA NDER RE S CU E S IN AUS T R A L I A

S EC TION T WO: C A PA B ILIT Y

20

22

C A PA B IL I T Y

24

S U RF L IFE S AV IN G S ERV I CE S

26

M EM B ER S HIP C A PACI T Y

27

A S S E T C A PA B IL I T Y

28

RE S CU E S

29

PRE V EN TAT I V E AC T I O N S

30

FIR S T A ID

31

F E AT U R E: T HE FRE A K WAV E MY T H 32


INTRODUCTION

A

ustralian beaches have long occupied a special place in Australian culture, with eighty-five per cent of the population living within 50km of the coast and more than 300 million visitations to the coast in the last year. The Australian coastline is where three of the world’s great oceans meet – the Pacific, Indian and Southern oceans – each providing a diversity of conditions and experiences to Australians and its visitors. The beach is a place of significance where people from all over the world can meet, live and come together. Our interactions with the Australian coastline represent a legacy that is recognised nationally and internationally with Australians renowned for their affinity with the coast. Most visits to the coast are ones of delight and fun, yet over the years too many have been peppered with disaster and tragedy. Surf Life Saving Australia (SLSA) is one of the nation’s most respected organisations and the peak body for coastal water safety and drowning prevention. We are Australia’s largest volunteer organisation, with 176,000 members drawn from all age groups and demographics. Membership across 314 clubs is almost fifty per cent female, with volunteer surf lifesavers performing more than 10,176 rescues each year and over 1.3 million volunteer hours on patrol. In addition, they attend to 89,695 emergency care treatments and perform more than 1.5 million preventative actions. With research showing that for every dollar invested or donated to Surf Life Saving there is twenty-nine dollars of value returned to the community it is undeniable the Surf Life Saving’s dividend to the nation is immense - and growing. The National Coastal Safety Report 2019 is a comprehensive summary and analysis of our research and presents evidence relating to community perceptions, delivery of core lifesaving services, coastal drowning deaths and other fatal coastal incidents. The report continues to focus on coastal drowning deaths, however, the National Coastal Safety Report 2019 delves further into other coastal-related deaths, presenting a fifteen-year overview and laying the foundations for future research to encompass all coastal-related fatalities. The 2018-19 period resulted in 190 recorded coastal fatalities. This includes 122 coastal drowning deaths, the third highest recorded in the past fifteen years. Of all 190 coastal fatalities, drowning was recorded as the causal factor in sixty-five per cent of incidents. For the 2018-19 period the majority of coastal and ocean drowning deaths occurred while swimming (35%), boating and PWC (14%) or using watercraft (8%). Swimming, watercraft, attempting a rescue, falls and snorkelling drowning deaths all being above the fifteen-year average. Males continue to be over-represented in coastal drowning deaths (87%), with young males aged 16-39 identified at a greater risk and are twice as

SURF LIFE SAVING AUSTR ALIA

likely to drown than other adults. On average forty young males drown each year (2004-19). For other unintentional coastal fatalities boating, swimming and watercraft are the three highest activities undertaken at the time of the fatality over the fifteen-year period, similar to that of coastal drowning deaths. The 2018-19 period saw swimming, scuba diving and snorkelling deaths above the fifteen-year average. Bystander rescues involve members of the public going to the aid of those in distress, with these actions increasingly recognised for the significant role in saving lives. Without these invaluable actions there is no doubt many other lives would have been lost. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for the rescuer to become the victim, with fatal bystander rescues on Australian beaches between 2004-17 representing four per cent of all coastal drowning deaths. Rock fishing has recorded the third highest number of coastal drowning deaths over the fifteen-year period. Media has often attributed these to unexpected large swell or ‘freak waves’. Research has found that the ‘freak wave’ concept is a myth and that understanding the wave period is vital. More experienced fishers have a better understanding of wave period, which enables them to better manage associated risks, and are encouraged to share their knowledge with less experienced fishers. The National Coastal Safety Report 2019 presents evidencebased insights into factors relating to drowning deaths and other fatalities, in addition to participation. This information is invaluable for understanding circumstances around incidents and assisting with the development of education and awareness programs, initiatives and actions to reduce fatalities in the future. I have the pleasure of commending this comprehensive report to you and encourage all to support SLSA in its objectives of reducing injury and the loss of life along our coastline. As has been stated in the past, the numbers and statistics represented are much more than this – they represent the loss of life of many individuals. The loss of 190 lives is not tolerable, nor is the loss of one life, our vision is zero preventable deaths in Australian waters.

Adam Weir Chief Executive Officer Surf Life Saving Australia

04

NATIONAL COASTAL SAFET Y REPORT 2019


T O TA L S E R V I C E P L A N

T

he Total Service Plan is SLSA’s national drowning reduction strategy and service plan. It is created using an iterative process of analysis and review to identify coastal safety issues of national importance. This approach follows the public health model and is consistent with international risk management principles. In collaboration with stakeholders, SLSA identifies coastal safety risks using incident monitoring, coastal risk assessments and participation analysis. This information is analysed to identify the top national coastal safety issues, priorities and blackspot areas that require intervention or mitigation strategies.

Context Drowning Statistics Non-fatal Drowning Data Operational Statistics Market Research Population Data Participation/Behaviour Data

Coastal Safety Hub

Risk Identification Incident Tracking Capability Statement Participation/Behaviour Analysis

Communication and Consultation

THE NATIONAL SAFETY AGENDA Market Research The issues and blackspots identified Stakeholder Consultation Councils, Committees through the Total Service Plan and Groups process form the basis of SLSA’s Conferences and Forums National Safety Agenda. The agenda influences lifesaving operations, including services and equipment allocation. It drives public education, including evidence-based mitigation strategies, communications campaigns and pilot projects, and informs SLSA’s research plan. The Total Service Plan takes a risk management approach. It allows SLSA to use the evidence to ensure we locate lifesaving services and assets in areas of need and have appropriate public education programs and mitigation strategies to address the coastal safety issues and known blackspots. Embedded in the process is continual monitoring and evaluation to ensure the treatments and interventions are effective in reducing drowning deaths along the Australian coast. The coastal safety needs of the Australian community reflected in the National Safety Agenda and the Surf Life Saving movement’s capacity and capability to meet these needs are explored in the ‘Capability’ section of this report.

Risk Assessment

National Risk Register Coastal Risk Assessments

Monitoring and Evaluation

Analysis Coastal Safety Briefs Trend Identification GIS Analysis

Critical Incident Analysis Target Identification Case Studies

Monitor Trends Monitor and Evaluate Service/ Asset Deployment Evaluate Pilot Programs Evaluate Research

Evaluation National Coastal Safety Report Strategic Research Agenda

National Safety Agenda National Coastal Safety Issues Blackspot Identification

Treatment/Intervention Lifesaving and Support Services Blackspot Reduction Program Beach Safety Equipment Fund Communication Campaigns Public Education and Training Early Warning Systems

Figure 1

TOTAL SERVICE PLAN PROCESS OVERVIEW The Total Service Plan aligns with the International Standard ISO 31000:2018 framework, which provides principles and guidelines for risk management.

NATIONAL SAFETY AGENDA ISSUES 1.

2.

3.

4.

5.

6.

7.

8.

9.

10.

55

+

RIP CURRENTS

BOATING

ROCK FISHING

WATERCRAFT

TOXICITY & HEALTH

SURF LIFE SAVING AUSTR ALIA

INTERNATIONAL TOURISTS

05

SNORKELLING & SCUBA DIVING

INTRODUCTION

OVER 55 YEARS

DANGEROUS MARINE CREATURES

NEW MIGRANTS


COMMUNIT Y SECTION ONE

14.7M

11.1M

9.3M

Australian adults visited the coast in 2018/19

Coastal activity participants

Swimming/Wading participants


A U S T R A L I A N P O P U L AT I O N

Figure 2

AUSTRALIAN POPULATION DENSITY PER LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA (LGA) This map shows the estimated Australian population density per LGA at June 2019. Most LGAs with a population density higher than 100 persons per square kilometre are located on Australia’s coastal fringe.

Key to Population Density per LGA Darwin

< 0.1 persons per km2 0.1–1 persons per km2 1–10 persons per km2 10–100 persons per km2 > 100 persons per km2

Brisbane

Perth

Adelaide

Sydney Canberra

0

1,000km

Melbourne

SCALE

Hobart

SURF LIFE SAVING AUSTR ALIA

08

NATIONAL COASTAL SAFET Y REPORT 2019


C O A S TA L P A R T I C I P AT I O N

Scuba Diving

Total: 3%

PWC

Total: 3%

Rock Fishing

Total: 6%

Watercraft

Total: 6%

Surfing

5+ times per week 1-4 times per week 1-3 times per month 3-11 times per year Less often

Total: 7%

Snorkelling

Total: 9% Total: 14%

Boating Land-based Fishing Swimming/ Wading

Total: 15% Total: 50%

Figure 3

2019: COASTAL VISITATION BY ACTIVITY Questions: Which of the following coastal activities have you participated in during the past 12 months? How often do you participate in these activities?

Swimming FREQUENT VS OCCASIONAL PARTICIPATION Annually, there are at least 11.1 million coastal activity participants. On average Australians visit the coast 3.4 times per month.

9.3 million swimmers 3.3 million frequent swimmers (at least once a month) 4 swimming hours per occasional swimmer per year 90 swimming hours per frequent swimmer per year

Land-based Fishing

Boating

2.9 million fishers 0.9 million frequent fishers (at least once a month) 11 fishing hours per occasional fisher per year 125 fishing hours per frequent fisher per year

2.7 million boaters 0.7 million frequent boaters (at least once a month) 10 boating hours per occasional boater per year 150 boating hours per frequent boater per year

Snorkelling

Surfing

1.7 million snorkellers 0.4 million frequent snorkellers (at least once a month) 3 snorkelling hours per occasional snorkeller per year 170 snorkelling hours per frequent snorkeller per year

1.4 million surfers 0.8 million frequent surfers (at least once a month) 6 surfing hours per occasional surfer per year 150 surfing hours per frequent surfer per year

Watercraft

Rock Fishing

1.1 million watercraft users 0.4 million frequent watercraft users (at least once a month) 5 watercraft hours per occasional watercraft user per year 140 watercraft hours per frequent watercraft user per year

1.1 million rock fishers 0.5 million frequent rock fishers (at least once a month) 10 fishing hours per occasional rock fisher per year 190 fishing hours per frequent rock fisher per year

Personal Water Craft (PWC)

Scuba Diving

0.6 million PWC users 0.2 million frequent PWC users (at least once a month) 4 PWC hours per occasional PWC user per year 30 PWC hours per frequent PWC user per year

0.6 million scuba divers 0.2 million frequent scuba divers (at least once a month) 5 diving hours per occasional diver per year 110 diving hours per frequent diver per year

SECTION ONE

09

COMMUNIT Y


A C T I V I T Y P A R T I C I P AT I O N C OA S TA L AC T I V I T Y PA R T I C I PA N T S: D E M O G R A PH I C & LO C AT I O N S E L E C T I O N

2019: SWIMMING/WADING

2019: FISHING Land-based

Rock

51%

9.3M

2.9M Land-based

40% 29%

49%

&

71% 60%

1.1M Rock

Swimming/ Wading Male Female

Male Female

Figure 4

Figure 6

2019: SWIMMING/WADING PARTICIPATION BY GENDER

2019: FISHING PARTICIPATION BY TYPE AND GENDER

Rock Fishing 36%

TAS

5% 10%

44%

SA

45%

VIC

3%

48%

NT

49%

WA

53%

NSW

9%

56%

QLD

18%

VIC TAS

15%

SA

15%

6%

NSW

6%

QLD

Land-based Fishing

10%

16% 18% 21%

WA

23%

NT

Figure 5

Figure 7

2019: SWIMMING/WADING PARTICIPATION BY STATE

2019: FISHING PARTICIPATION BY TYPE AND STATE

HOW SWIMMERS SELECT LOCATION

FISHERS WHO USE A LIFEJACKET OR BUOYANCY AID

68% WEATHER CONDITIONS

SAFETY

66%

63% SEA/SURF CONDITIONS

43% PATROLLED LOCATION

SURF LIFE SAVING AUSTR ALIA

10

36%

50%

LAND-BASED FISHERS

ROCK FISHERS

NATIONAL COASTAL SAFET Y REPORT 2019


2019: BOATING & PWC

48%

2.7M Boating

54%

46%

&

2019: SNORKELLING & SCUBA DIVING Boating

Snorkelling

PWC

Scuba Diving

1.7M Snorkelling

52%

46% 38%

0.6M PWC

&

0.6M

62% 54%

Scuba Diving

Male Female

Figure 8

Figure 10

2019: BOATING AND PWC PARTICIPATION BY GENDER

2019: SNORKELLING AND SCUBA DIVING PARTICIPATION BY GENDER

PWC 2%

4%

Scuba Diving

Boating

VIC

1%

9%

1%

SA

14%

WA

14%

4%

15%

5%

NSW

18%

TAS

18%

0% NT

1% 4% 22%

2%

Snorkelling

4%

VIC

4%

QLD

TAS QLD

2%

5%

1%

8% 9%

NSW

10%

SA

10%

WA

10% 20%

NT

Figure 9

Figure 11

2019: BOATING AND PWC PARTICIPATION BY STATE

2019: SCUBA DIVING AND SNORKELLING PARTICIPATION BY STATE

SWIMMING ABILITY OF FREQUENT PARTICIPANTS

LIFEJACKET OR BUOYANCY AID USE BY PARTICIPANTS

23% 9%

Male Female

PWC USERS IDENTIFY AS WEAK SWIMMERS OR CAN’T SWIM BOATERS IDENTIFY AS WEAK SWIMMERS OR CAN’T SWIM

SECTION ONE

11

35%

78%

SNORKELLERS

SCUBA DIVERS

COMMUNIT Y


A C T I V I T Y P A R T I C I P AT I O N C OA S TA L AC T I V I T Y PA R T I C I PA N T S: D E M O G R A PH I C & LO C AT I O N S E L E C T I O N

2019: SURFING

32%

2019: WATERCRAFT

1.4M

68%

1.1M

50%

50%

Watercraft

Surfing

Male Female

Male Female

Figure 12

Figure 14

2019: SURFING PARTICIPATION BY GENDER

2019: WATERCRAFT PARTICIPATION BY GENDER

2%

NT

SA

4%

TAS

4%

TAS

5% 5%

VIC

5%

WA

WA

5%

NT

6%

VIC

6%

QLD

7% 9%

SA

10%

NSW

QLD

7%

NSW

7%

Figure 13

Figure 15

2019: SURFING PARTICIPATION BY STATE

2019: WATERCRAFT PARTICIPATION BY STATE

SAFETY EQUIPMENT USED BY SURFERS

POPULAR LOCATIONS FOR WATERCRAFT ACTIVITIES

14%

17%

HELMET

SHARK DETERRENT DEVICE

SURF LIFE SAVING AUSTR ALIA

34% 22% 12

BAY OR HARBOUR

ESTUARY OR MANGROVE

NATIONAL COASTAL SAFET Y REPORT 2019


A C T I V I T Y P A R T I C I P AT I O N PA R T I C I PAT I O N F R E Q U E N C Y A N D E X PE R T I S E

6.0 Occasional Frequent

Millions

3.3

2.0

2.0

1.3 0.9

0.7

0.7 0.4

Swimming/ Wading

Boating

Land-based Fishing

Snorkelling

0.6

0.4

Watercraft

0.8

Surfing

0.6

0.5

0.4

Rock Fishing

0.4 0.2

0.2

Scuba Diving

PWC

Figure 16

2019: PARTICIPANTS (MILLIONS) IN COASTAL ACTIVITIES

<10km 10-25km 25-50km >50km

Hours spent at coast annually

180

85%

80%

72% 55% 41%

60 40

23% 20

<10km

10-25km

25-50km

13%

>50km

Two hours or more

14%

Less than 2 hours

Figure 17

Figure 18

2019: AVERAGE HOURS SPENT AT THE COAST BY DISTANCE OF RESIDENCE FROM THE COAST PER PERSON ANNUALLY

2019: HOURS SPENT AT THE COAST PER VISIT BY DISTANCE OF RESIDENCE FROM THE COAST Where data does not total 100%, respondents answered ‘Can’t say’.

SECTION ONE

13

COMMUNIT Y


SWIMMING ABILITY C O N F I D E N C E I N C OA S TA L E N V I R O N M E N T S

2% Ocean

17% 7%

2%

22%

38%

29%

60%

Overall

59%

Swim 50M at intermediate level 63%

Swim at an intermediate level

59% Beginner Intermediate Advanced Can’t say

Beginner Intermediate Advanced Can’t say

60%

Figure 19

Figure 20

2019: LEVEL OF EXPERTISE FOR SWIMMING AND WADING PARTICIPANTS

2019: ABILITY TO SWIM 50M BY REPORTED LEVEL OF EXPERTISE IN THE OCEAN COMPARED TO OVERALL

can we extend axis to 100%

46%

OF SWIMMERS CANNOT SWIM 50M IN THE OCEAN WITHOUT TOUCHING THE BOTTOM

90 80

79%

70 67%

60

66%

65%

64%

60%

58%

50

53% 46%

40 30 20 10 0 Surfing

Scuba Diving

Snorkelling

Watercraft

Rock Fishing

PWC

Boating

Land-based Fishing

Swimming/ Wading

Figure 21

2019: PORTION OF PARTICIPANTS THAT CAN SWIM 50M IN THE OCEAN WITHOUT TOUCHING THE BOTTOM BY ACTIVITY

SURF LIFE SAVING AUSTR ALIA

14

NATIONAL COASTAL SAFET Y REPORT 2019


RISK PERCEPTION PE R C E P T I O N S O F T H E C OA S T A N D C OA S TA L AC T I V I T I E S

WHEN THINKING OF THE COAST NEITHER LIFE SAVING SERVICES NOR PATROL FLAGS CAME TO MIND

49%

21% 13% 9%

8%

7%

7%

6% 1%

Beach

Sand, sandy

Water

Sun, sunshine

Surf, surfing

Swim, swimming

Fish, fishing

Relax, relaxation, lifestyle

Cliff, rocks

1% Sharks

Figure 22

2019: THINGS THAT COME TO MIND WHEN THINKING OF THE COAST

Waves

HAZARDS ARE LARGELY IGNORED WHEN THINKING OF THE COAST. THIS SUGGESTS VISITORS ARE UNPREPARED WHEN CONFRONTED WITH THESE HAZARDS AT THE COAST

39%

Rocks / Rocky platforms

59%

Other marine stingers

60%

Crocodiles

62%

Sharks

62%

Sun exposure

65%

Tropical marine stingers

69%

Rip currents

80%

Figure 23

2019: COASTAL FEATURES RATED AS EXTREMELY OR VERY HAZARDOUS BY ALL ADULTS

SECTION ONE

15

COMMUNIT Y


C O A S TA L S A F E T Y PE R C E P T I O N S O F T H E C OA S T A N D C OA S TA L AC T I V I T I E S

Not very or not at all safe

10%

10%

44%

Somewhat safe

19%

Extremely or very safe

22%

31%

28%

36%

37%

45%

63% 56%

40%

43%

54%

51%

51%

49%

46%

40% 25%

39%

Wading

Land-based Fishing

20%

18%

14%

11%

10%

10%

10%

7%

Swimming

Boating

Snorkelling

Watercraft

Surfing

Scuba Diving

PWC

Rock Fishing

Figure 24

2019: HOW SAFE DO AUSTRALIAN ADULTS THINK COASTAL ACTIVITIES ARE Where data does not total 100%, respondents answered ‘Can’t say’.

82%

Not confident Confident

OF HIGHLY COMPETENT OCEAN SWIMMERS FELT CONFIDENT TO IDENTIFY A RIP BUT ONLY

Could not identify a rip Correctly identified one rip picture Correctly identified multiple rip pictures

100

80

60

27%

40

20

0 Unable to swim

Weak swimmer

Average swimmer

Competent swimmer

Highly competent swimmer

COULD DO SO ACCURATELY

Figure 25

2019: PERCEIVED CONFIDENCE TO IDENTIFY A RIP CURRENT BY SWIMMING ABILITY BROKEN DOWN BY ACTUAL ABILITY TO IDENTIFY A RIP CURRENT Where data does not total 100%, respondents answered ‘Can’t say’.

SURF LIFE SAVING AUSTR ALIA

16

NATIONAL COASTAL SAFET Y REPORT 2019


SAFET Y PR AC TICES S A F E T Y M E A S U R E S I N C OA S TA L E N V I R O N M E N T S

Patrolled beach during patrol hours only

Patrolled beach, but not always during patrolled hours

Unpatrolled beach

37% < 10km

29% 24%

THOSE WHO LIVE LESS THAN 10KM FROM THE BEACH WERE MORE LIKELY TO SWIM OUTSIDE OF PATROL TIMES OR AT UNPATROLLED BEACHES

45% 10 to 25 km

28% 16% 49% 25%

26 to 50km 15%

47% > 50km

24% 20%

Figure 26

2019: USUAL SWIMMING LOCATION BY DISTANCE OF RESIDENCE FROM THE COAST

% participants who believe they are experienced enough to take a few risks Safety Index Rating - likelihood to follow safety practices when participating in the activity 86

87

83 71

76

73

46

47

48

50

PWC

Watercraft

Swimming / Wading

Snorkelling

78

72

52

Scuba Diving

68 56

56

Rock Fishing

Surfing

54

41

Boating

Land-based Fishing

Figure 27

2019: LIKELIHOOD OF COASTAL ACTIVITY PARTICIPANTS TO FOLLOW SAFETY PRACTICES COMPARED TO THEIR PERCEPTION THAT THEY ARE EXPERIENCED ENOUGH TO TAKE A FEW RISKS A safety index rating from 0 - 100 was created to demonstrate how likely coastal activity participants are to follow safety practices. For example, on average boaters follow safety practices 86% of the time.

SECTION ONE

17

COMMUNIT Y


F E AT U R E : Y O U N G M A L E S M E N AG E D 16 - 3 9

Y

oung males are a significant demographic as they are continually over-represented in coastal drowning data. Since 2004, men aged between 16-39 account for 36% of all drowning deaths and 33% of other coastal fatalities. In 2018-19, 44 drowning deaths were young males aged between 16-19, above the 15 year average of 40. The average drowning death rate for young men is double that for other adults within the population (2.05:1), meaning young men are twice as likely to drown than the rest of Australian adults. Young men often participate in coastal activities more than the average Australian adult and often exhibit over-confidence in their abilities. For drowning deaths involving young males aged 16-39, 58% had little to no experience in the activity they were participating at the time of death (Figure 28). This confidence is also evident in their reported risk taking behaviours, with consistently more young males considering themselves experienced enough to take risks during activities when compared to the total adult population (Figure 29). This risk taking tendency may escalate further under the influence of alcohol and drugs. For example, two-thirds of young males had consumed alcohol when they drowned (Figure 30). These results show that the adventurous and confident side to young males puts them at greater risk than other demographics and should be considered when trying to understand the impact of drowning and other fatalities on our communities.

10%

Young Males

13%

36%

58%

Other Adults

58%

Young males had no experience in drowning activity 51%

32%

Highly Experienced Experienced Not Experienced or No Experience

Figure 28

2004-19: EXPERIENCE IN ACTIVITY FOR DROWNING DEATHS YOUNG MALES COMPARED TO OTHER ADULTS

64%

OF YOUNG MALES HAD CONSUMED ALCOHOL WHEN THEY DROWNED

Young male population (16-39 years old) Total Australian adult population

69% 56%

Surfing

56%

Rock Fishing

71%

67%

66% 54%

64% 52%

Land-based Fishing

Scuba Diving

50%

Snorkelling

64% 55% 48%

Swimming/ Wading

47%

Watercraft

46%

52%

49%

PWC

41%

Boating

Figure 29

YOUNG MALES COMPARED TO THE ADULT POPULATION WHO CONSIDER THEMSELVES TO BE EXPERIENCED ENOUGH TO TAKE RISKS DURING AN ACTIVITY Young males are consistently more confident to take risks compared to the total adult population.

SURF LIFE SAVING AUSTR ALIA

18

NATIONAL COASTAL SAFET Y REPORT 2019


F E AT U R E : Y O U N G M A L E S M E N AG E D 16 - 3 9

ALCOHOL USE 25%

THE AVERAGE BLOOD ALCOHOL CONTENT WAS 0.16, MORE THAN TRIPLE THE LEGAL LIMIT

39%

64%

CANNABIS USE

Alcohol

2.08:1

Alcohol only Drugs only Alcohol and Drugs

36%

RATIO YOUNG MALES:OTHER ADULTS

Figure 30

AMPHETAMINE USE

2004-19: ALCOHOL AND DRUGS CONTRIBUTED TO 23% OF YOUNG MALE DROWNING DEATHS (n=135). OF THESE CASES, 39% HAD CONSUMED ALCOHOL ONLY (n=52), 36% HAD TAKEN DRUGS ONLY (n=49), WHILE 25% HAD BOTH ALCOHOL AND DRUGS IN THEIR SYSTEM (n=34)

2.71:1

RATIO YOUNG MALES:OTHER ADULTS

40

44

YOUNG MALES: 15 YEAR DROWNING AVERAGE

2.05:1

YOUNG MALES: 2018-19 DROWNING DEATHS

YOUNG MALES TO OTHER ADULTS RATE OF DROWNING DEATHS

49

48 42 37

40

43

42

37

45

44

36

34

32

31

2004-05

2005-06

2006-07

2007-08

2008-09

2009-10

2010-11

2011-12

2012-13

2013-14

2014-15

2016-17

2017-18

2018-19

Young male drowning deaths per 100,000 pop.

Figure 31

2004â&#x20AC;&#x201C;19: 15-YEAR TREND OF YOUNG MALES DROWNING DEATHS

2015-16

33

SECTION ONE

19

COMMUNIT Y


F E AT U R E : B Y S TA N D E R R E S C U E S I N AUSTR ALIA

W

ater safety and drowning prevention is a complex public health challenge especially given that many drowning incidents occur away from lifeguard or lifesaver services. In these situations, the only available help is often in the form of bystander rescuers. The term ‘bystander’ describes any member of the public, be it family, friend or stranger, who attempts to rescue someone in distress. However, bystander rescuers may lack experience, thereby placing both themselves and the rescuee at risk and tragically it is not uncommon for bystander rescuers to drown. Nevertheless, bystander rescues are increasingly recognised for the significant role they play in saving lives and the World Health Organisation has identified “train bystanders in safe rescue and resuscitation” as the fourth-most important action to reduce the global rates of drowning. Surf Life Saving Australia (SLSA) report 53 coastal drowning deaths of bystander rescuers on Australian beaches between 2004-2017, representing four percent of all coastal drowning deaths. Additionally, thirteen percent of Australians aged 16-69 have reported conducting a bystander rescue. SLSA with the University of NSW, Sydney and James Cook University recently investigated the characteristics of bystander rescues in Australia1. The main aims of this study were to determine the importance of prior water safety training in bystander rescues and to guide future public education strategies.

The Citizen Lifesaver Survey was completed by 243 people, approximately half of whom had received prior water-safety training, and found that bystander rescues were different depending on aquatic environment. Most occurred at beach locations more than 1km away from lifesaving services. Comparatively, males performed more bystander rescues in natural waterways (coastal and inland) than females, who conducted more rescues in swimming pools. Most male bystander rescuers had some level of water safety training compared to females. Results of the study highlight the valuable role that off-duty lifesavers and lifeguards play in drowning prevention, as bystanders with water safety training made three times more rescues than those without training. Most bystanders did not use a flotation device, but those with training were more likely to use one during a rescue. None of the 53 bystander coastal drowning deaths reported the use of a flotation device, indicating that more training and better communication regarding the usefulness of flotation devices are potentially important messages to help reduce numbers of drowning deaths.

Footnote: 1Citation: Brander RW, Warton N, Franklin RC, Shaw WS, Rijksen EJT, Daw S (2019) Characteristics of aquatic rescues undertaken by bystanders in Australia. PLoS ONE 14(2): e0212349. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0212349

SURF LIFE SAVING AUSTR ALIA

20

NATIONAL COASTAL SAFET Y REPORT 2019


B Y S TA N D E R R E S C U E S S N A P S H O T

36% BYSTANDER RESCUES WERE CONDUCTED AT BEACHES

NO FLOTATION DEVICE USED

OF BYSTANDER RESCUERS RATE THEMSELVES AS A STRONG SWIMMER

PREVIOUS WATER SAFETY TRAINING

Male

28% Female

46%

Previous training

MALE

36%

72% 54%

Yes No

FEMALE

13% CONFIDENT IN ABILITY TO MAKE RESCUE

OF AUSTRALIANS AGES 16 - 69 HAVE REPORTED CONDUCTING A BYSTANDER RESCUE


C A PA B I LI T Y SECTION T WO

10,176 50,534 RESCUES

PROFICIENT MEMBERS

1,379,056 VOLUNTEER PATROL HOURS

1,094

314

103

IRBs

Clubs

UAVs


C A PA B I LIT Y

S

SURF LIFE SAVING (SLS) HAS SIGNIFICANT CAPABILITY TO PROVIDE COASTAL SURVEILLANCE PATROLS AND AQUATIC SEARCH AND RESCUE (SAR) OPERATIONS, WORKING IN CLOSE PARTNERSHIP WITH POLICE AND OTHER EMERGENCY SERVICES.

urf Life Saving (SLS) has significant capability to provide coastal surveillance patrols and aquatic search and rescue (SAR) operations, working in close partnership with police and other emergency services. These services are expertly delivered and managed by the 40,959 Bronze Medallion holders and 9,575 Surf Rescue Certificate holders (totalling 50,534 proficient surf lifesavers) through the 314 Surf Life Saving Clubs. This is alongside over 1,000 full time, seasonal and casual lifeguards. Surf lifesavers and lifeguards receive specialised training to industry best-practice standards under the Australian Qualifications Framework ensuring the community receives consistent service of the highest quality across the nation. Radio communications provide support to all services via SLS coastal radio networks or government radio networks, which are connected to SLS communication and operation centres. These centres provide operational support, data management and when required coordinate the SLS emergency response system.

AUSTRALIAN LIFEGUARD SERVICE The Australian Lifeguard Service (ALS) is a national lifeguard provider of beach and pool lifeguard services to 65 local government councils and land managers across Australia. It is the largest supplier of professional lifeguards in Australia. ALS operations are fully integrated into the 24-hour surf emergency response system and work with SLSâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s volunteer lifesaving services including the strategically located Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Helicopter Services. ALS patrols provide a range of services, from single-day patrols during periods of peak attendance (i.e. public holidays) to 365day services for local governments. They are a crucial component in offering a seamless service to the community during peak periods. Several councils around Australia operate internal lifeguard services. Statistics for those services have not been included in this report.

VOLUNTEER SURF LIFESAVERS Our volunteer surf lifesavers are provided with fit-for-purpose equipment designed to operate in the hazardous and challenging conditions that SLS services encounter. Surf lifesavers utilise thousands of rescue boards and rescue tubes mostly around the red and yellow flagged patrol areas. They are supported by 1,094 inflatable rescue boats (IRB), allowing surf lifesavers to quickly navigate the surf zone and inshore environment. Roving surveillance patrols that actively monitor stretches of coastline near a primary patrolled areas are vital to the SLS drowning prevention strategy. Surf lifesavers undertake these patrols using 567 side-by-side (SSV) and 4WD vehicles. Similarly, aerial surveillance can be undertaken through the fleet of 103 Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs). SLS services extend beyond the red and yellow flags to provide surveillance and emergency response in isolated and hazardous coastal areas. Agile craft such as 181 rescue water craft (RWC) and six jet rescue boats (JRBs) allow surf lifesavers to access white-water areas such as coastal bars and rocky coastlines. A fleet of ten offshore rescue boats (ORBs) and eight rigid-hull inflatable boats (RIBs) further extend the SLS response capability providing longer range surveillance, blue-water rescue and SAR operations.

SURF LIFE SAVING AUSTR ALIA

WESTPAC LIFESAVER RESCUE HELICOPTERS For rapid, isolated or complex rescues, eight Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Helicopters provide aerial support to lifesaving services and further extend our surveillance and SAR capability. These important assets also support police and other emergency services in a range of emergency and disaster situations.

24

NATIONAL COASTAL SAFET Y REPORT 2019


SILVER MEDALLION BEACH MANAGEMENT 8,845

GOLD MEDALLION (ADVANCED LIFESAVING) 534

IRB CREW CERTIFICATE 14,388

BRONZE MEDALLION 40,959

SILVER MEDALLION AQUATIC RESCUE 783

SPINAL MANAGEMENT 5,898

FIRST AID 10,545

ADVANCED RESUSCITATION TECHNIQUES 9,601

SILVER MEDALLION IRB DRIVER 7,292

RADIO OPERATOR CERTIFICATE 4,563

Figure 32

2018–19: QUALIFICATIONS HELD BY BRONZE MEDALLION HOLDERS 40,959 proficient Bronze Medallion holders also are proficient in nine other lifesaving awards, totalling over 60,000 additional lifesaving qualifications. This highlights the large amount of additional volunteer training our surf lifesavers undertake to ensure they are highly skilled first responders.

9,601 604

Advanced Resuscitation Techniques [AID] First Aid [AID] Gold Medallion (Advanced Lifesaving)

10,545 1,279 534

IRB Crew Certificate

14,388

Radio Operator Certificate Silver Medallion Aquatic Rescue

4,563 1,641 783

Silver Medallion Beach Management

8,845

Silver Medallion IRB Driver

7,292

Spinal Management

5,898

240

Surf Rescue Certificate (CPR Endorsed)

9,575

Figure 33

2018–19: TOTAL QUALIFICATIONS OF PROFICIENT LIFESAVERS

SECTION T WO

25

CAPABILIT Y

Award held by Bronze Medallion Holders Award held by non-Bronze Medallion holders


S U RF LIFE SAVIN G S E RVI CE S

Figure 34

2018â&#x20AC;&#x201C;19: SURF LIFE SAVING SERVICES There are 314 Surf Life Saving Clubs around Australia: 129 in New South Wales, 57 in Queensland, 57 in Victoria, 31 in Western Australia, 22 in South Australia, 15 in Tasmania and 3 in Northern Territory. The Australian Lifeguard Service provides 238 lifeguard services around Australia: 90 in New South Wales, 78 in Queensland, 44 in Victoria, 17 in Western Australia, 5 in Northern Territory, 2 in South Australia and 2 in Tasmania.

Darwin

8 135 48 Brisbane

24 219

Perth

Sydney

Adelaide

101 0

1,000km

Canberra

Melbourne

SCALE

Hobart

17

SURF LIFE SAVING AUSTR ALIA

26

NATIONAL COASTAL SAFET Y REPORT 2019


M E M B E R S H I P C A PAC IT Y

12,001

Male Female 6,452

5,589 3,663

3,689

QLD

NSW

2,896

3,098

2,204

1,425

356

582

SA

WA

VIC

1,009

69

53

NT

TAS

Figure 35

2018–19: PATROLLING MEMBERS There were a total of 43,092 members who performed a patrol. This includes 6 unspecified gender. 17,961

Bronze Medallion Surf Rescue Certificate 9,363 5,915 4,449

3,494

2,626 1,392

NSW

QLD

VIC

1,346

WA

2,352 576 SA

809

129

110

TAS

12 NT

Figure 36

2018–19: PROFICIENT MEMBERS There were a total of 40,959 proficient Bronze Medallion holders and 9,575 Surf Rescue Certificate holders.

2018-19: PATROLLING SURF LIFESAVERS

4% 8%

61%

12%

17%

37% Board

37%

22%

MALE

Board RWC Rescue Tube IRB No Gear Other

39% FEMALE

Figure 37

2018-19: EQUIPMENT USE IN RESCUES

SECTION T WO

27

CAPABILIT Y


A S S E T C A PA B I LIT Y

Figure 38

2018â&#x20AC;&#x201C;19: SLS MAJOR ASSET LOCATION AND SERVICE RANGE SLS maintains a fleet of 181 rescue water craft (RWC), as well as 6 jet rescue boats (JRB), 8 rigid-hull inflatable boats (RIB), 10 offshore rescue boats (ORB) and 8 rescue helicopters. Their locations and service ranges are depicted on this map.

Key to Asset Location

Jet Rescue Boat ( JRB) Darwin

Rigid-hull Inflatable Boat (RIB) Offshore Rescue Boat (ORB) Rescue Helicopter

Brisbane

Perth

Adelaide

Sydney Canberra

0

1,000km

Melbourne

SCALE

Hobart

SURF LIFE SAVING AUSTR ALIA

28

NATIONAL COASTAL SAFET Y REPORT 2019


RESCUES

Figure 39

2018â&#x20AC;&#x201C;19: RESCUES PER LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA (LGA) SLS lifesavers, lifeguards and lifesaving services performed 10,176 rescues across 117 LGAs around Australia.

Key to Rescues per LGA < 14 Rescues

Darwin

15 - 49 Rescues 50 - 149 Rescues 150 - 899 Rescues > 900 Rescues

76 3,894 590 Brisbane

304 4,710

Perth

Sydney

Adelaide

Canberra

0

526 Melbourne

1,000km

SCALE

Hobart

76

SECTION T WO

29

CAPABILIT Y


P R E V E N TAT I V E A C T I O N S

Figure 40

2018â&#x20AC;&#x201C;19: PREVENTATIVE ACTIONS PER LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA (LGA) SLS lifesavers, lifeguards and lifesaving services performed 1,566,449 preventative actions across 117 LGAs around Australia.

Key to Preventative Actions per LGA < 1,449 Actions

Darwin

1,500 - 5,999 Actions 6,000 - 24,999 Actions 25,000 - 99,999 Actions > 100,000 Actions

7,934 716,215

54,493

Brisbane

14,404

628,539

Perth

Sydney

Adelaide

Canberra

0

Melbourne

1,000km

SCALE

133,553

SURF LIFE SAVING AUSTR ALIA

30

Hobart

11,311

NATIONAL COASTAL SAFET Y REPORT 2019


FIRST AID

Figure 41

2018â&#x20AC;&#x201C;19: FIRST AID PER LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA (LGA) SLS lifesavers, lifeguards and lifesaving services performed 89,695 first aid treatments across 117 LGAs around Australia.

Key to First Aid Incidents per LGA < 59 Incidents

Darwin

60 - 249 Incidents 250 - 549 Incidents 550 - 4,999 Incidents > 5,000 Incidents

515 65,133

2,802

Brisbane

1,008 Perth

17,174 Sydney

Adelaide

Canberra

0

Melbourne

1,000km

SCALE

2,956

Hobart

107

SECTION T WO

31

CAPABILIT Y


F E AT U R E : T H E F R E A K W A V E M Y T H

R

ock fishing is currently Australia’s third highest cause of coastal drowning, following swimming and boating. The media often attributes these fatalities to unexpected large waves or ‘freak waves’. Now, the rock fishing community, Melbourne University and Surf Life Saving Australia are challenging the idea of ‘freak waves’ on Australia’s coasts by offering new ways to consider risk. During this project, highly experienced fishers’ (i.e., experiential-experts) revealed that only fishers who do not understand how the wave period influences the timing of waves would refer to a large wave during seemingly calm conditions as a ‘freak wave’. To help explain how wave periods effect the appearance and timing of waves, an experiential-expert provided a sketch showing that when the wave period is 4 - 12 seconds, you can see dangerous waves more easily. But, during wave periods over 12 seconds, wave heights appear less often, giving the sea a calm appearance (figure 42). The relationship between rock fishing-related drowning deaths were then compared with the daily average wave height, swell direction, and wave period to examine whether experienced fishers’ perceptions of long wave periods aligned with the conditions when fishers drowned. Results showed that the wave periods were higher than average, in support of experiential-expert fishers accounts claiming that when waves are less obvious, inexperienced fishers are at greater risk due to a lack of understanding on how to accurately perceive risks.

SURF LIFE SAVING AUSTR ALIA

The media contributes to this myth by drawing on the fear of terrifying freak waves, but results from this study suggests that attempts to scare fishers into behaving differently is unlikely to be effective. From the perspective of experienced fishers, when media and government draw on the concept of a ‘freak wave’ they are demonstrating either a poor understanding of coastal processes and risk, or perhaps worse, a misrepresentation of the situation in an effort to govern coastal users. The expert knowledge held by experienced fishers is invaluable, and they should be encouraged to share their knowledgepractices with less-experienced fishers. This sharing or exchange of knowledge should be supported by coastal risk managers by improving the communication between the experienced and inexperienced components of the rock fishing community. For example, better communication regarding how longer wave periods affect the appearance of risk will help inexperienced fishers to learn, understand and experience the variety of conditions they are likely to encounter while fishing. Integration of such supportive strategies will increase overall enjoyment by fishers and ultimately work towards reducing rock-fishing related incidents.

Footnote: Reprinted from Ocean and Coastal Management, Vol 173, Peter Kamstra, Brian Cook, David M.Kennedy, Sarah McSweeney, Eveline Rijksen, Shane Daw, Expert perceptions of the ‘freak’ wave myth on Australia’s rocky coasts, Page 104-113, Copyright Elsevier (2019) with permission from Elsevier https://doi.org/10.1016/j. ocecoaman.2019.02.015

32

NATIONAL COASTAL SAFET Y REPORT 2019


Inexperienced fishers tend only to assess risk on the conditions close to shore. More experienced fishers are attuned to the fact that calm conditions close to shore can still precede large waves in long period sets.

(In)experienced Visibility of Risk

Experienced Attunement to Risk

25m

4 SEC WAVE PERIOD

High risk

Low risk

100m

8 SEC WAVE PERIOD

Moderate risk

Moderate risk

225m

12 SEC WAVE PERIOD

Low risk

High risk

505m

18 SEC WAVE PERIOD

Absence of risk

Very high risk

Wave length (m)

Figure 42

DIFFERENT RISK PERCEPTIONS AND THE ASSOCIATED SPATIALITY OF THOSE PERCEPTIONS BETWEEN INEXPERIENCED AND EXPERIENCED; DESCRIBED BY A ROCK FISHER WITH OVER SEVEN YEARS EXPERIENCE. ADAPTED FROM AN EXPERIENTIAL-EXPERT SKETCH

SECTION T WO

33

CAPABILIT Y


D R O W N I N G A N A LY S I S SECTION THREE

122 DROWNING DEATHS COASTAL & OCEAN

87 % MALE

13 % FEMALE

CONTRIBUTING DROWNING FACTORS 2004-19

Rip Currents

25%

Medical Condition or Injury

32%

Alcohol/Drugs

22%


SECTION HEADING S E C T I O N 01


N AT I O N A L O V E R V I E W 2 0 0 4 -19: 15 -Y E A R R E V I E W

Cause of Death listed

0.6 136

134 120 107

104

96

Number (n)

122

117

115 106

114

110

105 91

90

0.5

107

85 0.4

60 0.3

30

0

0.0 2004-05

2005-06

2006-07

2007-08

2008-09

2009-10

2010-11

Figure 43

2004-19: 15-YEAR TREND OF NATIONAL COASTAL DROWNING DEATHS National coastal and ocean drowning death numbers and crude drowning rates for 2004-19 are illustrated above. The 2018-19 rate per 100,000 population is 0.48, exactly on the 15-year average.

2011-12

2012-13

2013-14

2014-15

2015-16

2016-17

0.48

15-YEAR AVERAGE RATE PER 100,000 POPULATION

2017-18

2018-19

110

15-YEAR AVERAGE DROWNING DEATHS

Swimming/Wading

Attempting a Rescue

2004-19

2018-19

2004-19

2018-19

33

43

4

6

Boating & PWC

Scuba Diving

2004-19

2018-19

2004-19

2018-19

24

17

5

5

Watercraft

Snorkelling

2004-19

2018-19

2004-19

2018-19

8

10

7

9

Rock Fishing

Fall

2004-19

2018-19

2004-19

2018-19

12

9

5

9

Figure 44

2004-19: 15-YEAR AVERAGE COMPARED TO 2018-19 COASTAL & OCEAN DROWNING DEATHS BY ACTIVITY Nationally, the number of activity types being undertaken when coastal and ocean drowning deaths occur varies over time. In 2018-19, the number of drowning deaths while conducting swimming/wading, watercraft, fall, snorkelling and attempting a rescue activities were above the 15-year average, while boating and PWC and rock fishing incidents were below the 15-year average. The number of drowning deaths while scuba diving were equal to the 15-year average.

Rate (per 100,000 pop.)

No Cause of Death listed

150

SURF LIFE SAVING AUSTR ALIA

36

NATIONAL COASTAL SAFET Y REPORT 2019


3%

2004-19: KEY DEMOGRAPHICS IN COASTAL & OCEAN DROWNING STATISTICS

3% 3% 1%

87% 13%

15%

53%

53%

Australia

22%

MALE

Australia Asia Europe Oceania North America Africa Latin America

FEMALE

Figure 45

2004-19: COASTAL & OCEAN DROWNING DEATHS BY REGION OF BIRTH

The 20-34 year old age group represents 27% of all drowning deaths. The 45-54 year old age group accounts for 19% of all drowning deaths.

The region of birth is currently known for 73% of all coastal and ocean drowning deaths (n=1,225), with 53% from Australia. When breaking it down to continents, the top 3 are Australia (n=637), Asia (n=271) and Europe (n=185).

20-34 YEARS OF AGE

&

45-54 YEARS OF AGE

300 10% 250 8%

200

6%

150

4%

100

12-1 am 1-2am 2-3am 3-4am 4-5am 5-6am 6-7am 7-8am 8-9am 9-10am 10-11am 11-12pm 12-1pm 1-2pm 2-3pm 3-4pm 4-5pm 5-6pm 6-7pm 7-8pm 8-9pm 9-10pm 10-11pm 11-12am

June

May

April

March

February

January

December

November

October

0 September

0 August

2%

July

50

Figure 46

Figure 47

2004-19: COASTAL & OCEAN DROWNING DEATHS BY MONTH

2004-19: COASTAL & OCEAN DROWNING DEATHS BY TIME

The highest percentage of coastal and ocean drowning deaths occurred in the month of January (n=260), followed by December (n=194) and March (n=184). Sixty-two per cent occurred outside of the summer months. Shading denotes seasons.

Incident time is currently known for 84% of all coastal and ocean drowning deaths (n=1,381). The highest density of fatalities occurred between 12pm and 5pm (n=608).

SECTION THREE

37

DROWNING ANALYSIS


N AT I O N A L O V E R V I E W 2 018 -19: 1-Y E A R R E V I E W

S

ince 2017, SLSA has reported coastal fatalities as well as coastal drowning deaths. This allows SLSA to better understand the impact other coastal fatalities, such as medical conditions, marine creatures and other causes, may have on surf lifesaving services and the wider community. Further research has been undertaken to investigate the environment (aquatic or non-aquatic) in which the other coastal fatalities occur. Non-aquatic fatalities refer to incidents which have occurred at a coastal location but not in the aquatic environment. In 2018-19, a total of 122 coastal drowning deaths were recorded. Additionally, SLSA recorded 68 coastal fatalities taking the total number of coastal fatalities to 190. Coastal drowning deaths and other coastal fatalities can have long term, devastating impacts to family, friends and loved ones in addition to emergency and lifesaving services. Acknowledging that 35 per cent of coastal fatalities are not as a result of drowning creates a range of challenges for the greater community, SLS and all other aquatic emergency service agencies. Understanding the type of incidents that occur and the contributing factors that lead to the fatality will assist to develop strategies to help reduce incidents in the future. As the peak coastal rescue authority, Australiaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Surf Lifesaving Services respond to a range of different coastal incidents. Research that incorporates coastal drowning deaths and fatalities will help to identify black spots, provide evidencebased recommendations to develop preventative or mitigation strategies for communities as well as provide the necessary training and support to our lifesaving services.

64%

35%

Coastal Drowning Deaths 1%

64%

Coastal Drowning Ocean Drowning Other Fatalities

Figure 49

2018-19: OVERVIEW OF DROWNING DEATHS AND FATALITIES PER CATEGORY

122

68

DROWNING DEATHS

COASTAL FATALITIES

121 1 26 COASTAL

OCEAN

INTENTIONAL

42

UNINTENTIONAL

27 13 2 AQUATIC

NON AQUATIC

70 60

Number (n)

50 40 30 20

Unknown Non-aquatic Aquatic Drowning

10 0

NSW

QLD

VIC

WA

SA

TAS

NT

Figure 48

2018â&#x20AC;&#x201C;19: OVERVIEW OF DROWNING DEATHS AND AQUATIC FATALITIES PER STATE

SURF LIFE SAVING AUSTR ALIA

38

NATIONAL COASTAL SAFET Y REPORT 2019

UNKNOWN


Coastal drowning death Coastal fatality Coastal drowning death or fatality

Darwin

2 23 | 14 15 | 10 13 | 11

Brisbane

44 | 25

Perth

Sydney

Adelaide

Canberra

0

Melbourne

1,000km

SCALE

23 | 4

6

Hobart

Figure 50

2018-19: COASTAL DROWNING DEATHS AND FATALITIES BY STATE In 2018-19 there were 122 coastal and ocean drowning deaths and 68 coastal fatalities. Red numbers indicate coastal and ocean drowning deaths per state. Blue numbers indicate coastal fatalities per state. The black number indicates both coastal drowning deaths and fatalities combined.

SECTION THREE

39

DROWNING ANALYSIS


N AT I O N A L O V E R V I E W 2 018 -19: 1-Y E A R R E V I E W

Female Male

1.4

14

1.2

12

1.0

10

0.8

Number (n)

8 0.6

6

0.4

4

Rate (per 100,000 pop.)

16

0.2

2 0

0.0 0-4

5-9

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+

Figure 51

2018-19: COASTAL & OCEAN DROWNING DEATHS BY AGE AND GENDER (n=122 ) 20-24 year olds represent the highest number of drowning deaths. The age group representing the highest rate of drowning deaths is 75-79 (1.14 rate per 100,000 pop.). Overall, 87% (n=106) of fatalities were male.

6%

4%

6% 4%

3% 2%

15%

5%

35%

7%

35%

Swimming/ Wading

7% 7%

8%

14%

Swimming/Wading Boating & PWC Watercraft Rock Fishing Snorkelling Fall Attempting a rescue Scuba Diving Other Unknown

18%

58% Beach

58%

Beach Rock/Cliff Offshore Bay Port/Marina Other

Figure 52

Figure 53

2018-19: COASTAL & OCEAN DROWNING DEATHS BY ACTIVITY (n=122)

2018-19: LOCATION OF COASTAL AND OCEAN DROWNING DEATHS (n=122)

The majority of coastal and ocean drowning deaths occurred while swimming/wading (n=43), boating and PWC (n=17), or watercraft (n=10).

The majority of coastal and ocean drowning deaths occurred at a beach (n=71), rock/cliff (n=22) or an offshore location (n=18).

SURF LIFE SAVING AUSTR ALIA

40

NATIONAL COASTAL SAFET Y REPORT 2019


25

25

20 16

Number (n)

15

13

12

10

11

9 5

0

8 6

6

May

June

6

5

5

July

August

September

October

November December

January

February

March

April

Figure 54

2018-19: COASTAL & OCEAN DROWNING DEATHS PER MONTH (n=122 ) Of the 122 coastal and ocean drowning deaths, 42% (n=52) happened over the summer months (Dec-Feb). Dark-red squares indicate the 15-year average drowning deaths per month.

6% 15%

35% 42%

7% 35%

37%

More than 50km

Less than 1km

17%

22%

< 1km 1 - 5km > 5km Ocean

19%

37%

< 10 km 10 - 50 km > 50 km International Unknown

Figure 55

Figure 56

2018–19: DISTANCE FROM DROWNING LOCATION TO A LIFESAVING SERVICE (n=122)

2018–19: DISTANCE FROM RESIDENCE TO DROWNING LOCATION (n=122)

Forty-three individuals (35%) drowned within 1km of the nearest lifesaving service. Almost half (n=52, 42%) of incidents happened further than 5km from a lifesaving service.

Twenty-seven individuals (22%) lived less than 10km from the drowning location. Forty-five individuals (37%) lived more than 50km from the incident location while nine individuals (7%) were international visitors.

SECTION THREE

41

DROWNING ANALYSIS


DINSET: R OIndian WOcean N ITerritories N G L O C AT I O N S (Inset is same scale as main map)

2 0 0 4 –19

3 2

Christmas Island

3 50

Ashmore Reef

5 2 2 2 3

INSET: Indian Ocean Territories

3

(Inset is same scale as main map) 3 3 50

Christmas Island

Cocos (Keeling) Islands 3

Christmas Island to Port Hedland approximately 1,800 km

2

Cocos (Keeling) Islands

Christmas Island to Port Hedland approximately 1,800 km

2 2

2 2 2 2 6 2 2 2

260

2 2 4

2 3

2 2 3 2 2

Key to Drowning Activity

Attempting a rescue

Figure 57

2

2 3

Attempting a rescue Jump Boating and PWC Fall Land-based fishing Jump Other Land-based fishing Other Rock fishing Rock fishing Scuba diving Scuba diving Snorkelling Snorkelling Swimming/wading Swimming/wading Unknown Watercraft Unknown Multiple instances per activity at the same location Watercraft Capital city 4

4 5 2

2

Fall

4

PERTH

2

Boating and PWC

Key to Drowning Activity

2 2 3 2 5 3

2 2 8 2 2 9 4 6 2 2

4 3 3

2 7 2

0

Multiple instances per activity at the same location

CapitalBY cityACTIVITY 2004–19: COASTAL DROWNING DEATHS

SURF LIFE SAVING AUSTR ALIA

1,00

SCALE

42

NATIONAL COASTAL SAFET Y REPORT 2019


2

5 3

3

DARWIN 3

2

00km

4

4 4 2 9

6

2 7

3

2 4

41

3 3 3 2 4 2

2

4

3

2

289

2 2

6 2

2

3 2 2 3 7

2 4

117

5 3

3 2 3 5 2 2

3 4 2 15 9 4 12 5

BRISBANE 2 2 2 5 23 2 7 5 2 2

2 2

3

2 10 2 2

2 2 3 2 3 4 2 6 7 3 2 4

2 11

ADELAIDE 2

10 3 4

2

2 2 2 4 5 14 3 5 6

244

25 20 16 6 5 4 4 4 3 2 16 14 14 8 5 3 9 4 3

2

2 2 4

2 19 8 6 4 2

3 3 2

2

2 3

2

2

2

5

2

2

3

2 2 5

2 6 9 2 2 2

7

2 2 2 2 3 4 4 4 2 2 2 3 4 4 2 2 2 2 3

2 2

81

2

HOBART 2

4 2

2 3 2

3

2

2 3 5 2 4 10 10 2 4 3 3 2 5 4 2 2 13 9 2 2 2 2

5

2 3 7 7 14 2

3

2

3

SYDNEY

CANBERRA

MELBOURNE 2

3 6

4

2 2 3 7 3

2

2

4 2

4 3

616

2

7 2 2

2

4 3 2 2 2 2

3 2 2

2

9 2 2 3 2 4

Lord Howe Island


D R O W N I N G V S F ATA L I T Y

C

oastal drowning deaths have long held the focus of water safety research due to the severe, accidental and preventable nature of the incidents. While drowning deaths make up the bulk of coastal fatalities, a significant proportion of unintentional coastal fatalities are non-drowning related. These coastal fatalities include medical incidents, accidents, injuries, alcohol, drugs and marine creatures. From an emergency service and rescue perspective, the response to drowning deaths and other coastal fatality incidents is similar but until now, most research has focused on drowning deaths. As a result, there has been a lack of understanding to the number of fatal incidents faced by lifesavers and emergency services and therefore the impact this has on first responders. This research aims to assess the frequency and nature of nondrowning coastal fatalities compared to drowning deaths and provide an overview of all fatalities that occur in Australian waters. Using coronial data, the SurfGuard Incident Report Database (IRD) and media articles a dataset of non-drowning coastal fatalities was collated and compared to Surf Life Saving Australia’s national database of drowning deaths. These databases were extended to include Australian governed waters including sovereign waters (including the Australian Fishing and Exclusive Economic Zones) and our external territories. Between 2004 and 2019, 42% of all fatalities on the Australian coast were not drowning-related (n=1,230). Two-thirds of these other coastal fatalities were unintentional (n=830). Some states (NT, Qld, SA) showed that these unintentional coastal fatalities occur more or as frequently than drowning deaths (Figure 58). Males accounted for 88% of unintentional fatalities, of which 44% were between 45-64 years of age. Most unintentional

Medical DROWNING DEATH

22%

FATALITY

Marine Creatures DROWNING DEATH

0% FATALITY

fatalities occurred between 9am-4pm (53%, n=346) and during December (13%, n=109). The highest number of unintentional coastal fatalities occurred while boating (32%) followed by swimming/wading (11%) and watercraft (9%), which is similar to drowning deaths (boating – 21%, swimming/wading – 30%, watercraft – 7%). Medical episodes and injuries contributed to 658 (88%) unintentional coastal fatalities but only 442 of drowning deaths (33%). Toxicology data was available for 87% of incidents (n=2,144) with alcohol and/or drugs contributing to 109 coastal fatalities (15%) and 315 of drowning deaths (19%). Marine creatures accounted for 29 (4%) coastal fatalities and no drowning deaths, while rip currents were known to contribute to 315 drowning deaths (25%) compared to seven coastal fatalities (1%). Drowning deaths and coastal fatalities are both increasing at beaches, coastal fatalities are increasing at rock/cliff environments while drowning deaths remained stable (Figure 65). Swimming/wading incidents are increasing, while boating fatalities are decreasing over time (Figure 64). Australian born individuals accounted for over half of all incidents, followed by people born in Asia then Europe (Figure 66). For cases involving Australian residents, 34% of drowning deaths and 26% of coastal fatalities were born overseas (Figure 67). This research highlights the extent to which coastal fatalities on top of drowning deaths impact on lifesaving services and the wider community. Further investigation will align causal factors with potential interventions and safety campaigns in addition to how we can better equip our frontline people to manage these tragic situations.

Medical & Injury DROWNING DEATH

2%

FATALITY

9%

Rip Current

Alcohol

DROWNING DEATH

DROWNING DEATH

FATALITY

FATALITY

25% 8%

SURF LIFE SAVING AUSTR ALIA

44

Injury DROWNING DEATH

Drugs

FATALITY

8%

DROWNING DEATH

FATALITY

Both Alcohol & Drugs DROWNING DEATH

6%

NATIONAL COASTAL SAFET Y REPORT 2019

FATALITY


SNAPSHOT 2 0 0 4 -2 019

INDIAN OCEAN TERRITORIES Christmas Islands Cocos (Keeling) Islands TORRES STRAIT 17%

26%

83%

74% Australian mainland approx. 1,600km

42% 58%

51% 49% 48%

52%

50% 50%

38% 62%

35% 65%

43%

57%

93% 77%

13% 4%

3%

Drowning death Other fatality

10% 0

Coastal

Ocean

Sovereign Waters

Figure 58

PERCENTAGE OF DROWNING DEATHS AND OTHER FATALITIES IN DIFFERENT AQUATIC ZONES

1,000km

SCALE


U N I N T E N T I O N A L C O A S TA L F ATA L I T I E S 2 0 0 4 -19: 15 -Y E A R R E V I E W

Female Male

75 68

70 60

Number (n)

60

62

61

62

65

0.40

63

0.32

55 48

50

43

43

43

40

40

42

0.24

0.16

30 20

0.08

Rate (per 100,000 pop.)

80

10 0

0.00 2004-05

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

2018-19

Figure 59

2004-19: NATIONAL 15-YEAR TREND OF UNINTENTIONAL COASTAL FATALITIES National unintentional coastal fatality numbers and crude rates for 2004-19 are illustrated above. Unintentional coastal fatalities include deaths other than drowning deaths (such as medical incidents, accidents, or marine creature), excluding homicide and self-harm related incidents.

Swimming/Wading

Attempting a Rescue

2004-19

2018-19

2004-19

2018-19

6

8

1

0

Boating & PWC

Scuba Diving

2004-19

2018-19

2004-19

2018-19

18

9

3

4

Watercraft

Snorkelling

2004-19

2018-19

2004-19

2018-19

5

4

3

3

Rock Fishing

Non-aquatic Transport

2004-19

2018-19

2004-19

2018-19

1

0

5

4

Figure 60

2004-19: 15-YEAR AVERAGE COMPARED TO 2018-19 UNINTENTIONAL FATALITIES BY ACTIVITY Nationally, the number of activity types being undertaken when unintentional fatalities occur varies over time. In 2018-19, the number of coastal fatalities while swimming/wading and scuba diving were above the 15-year average, while boating and PWC, watercraft, rock fishing, attempting a rescue and non-aquatic transport related incidents were below the 15-year average. The number of unintentional fatalities while snorkelling is equal with the 15-year average.

SURF LIFE SAVING AUSTR ALIA

46

NATIONAL COASTAL SAFET Y REPORT 2019


5%

2004-19: KEY DEMOGRAPHICS IN UNINTENTIONAL COASTAL FATALITIES

2% 1%

7%

10%

46% Beach

12%

88% 12%

Beach Offshore Bay Rock/Cliff Port/Marina Jetty River/Creek Pool Public Other Unknown

46%

16%

MALE

FEMALE

Figure 61

2004-19: LOCATION OF UNINTENTIONAL COASTAL FATALITIES

The 45-64 year old age group represents 44% of all unintentional deaths. The 60-64 year old age group accounts for 11% of all unintentional deaths.

The majority of unintentional coastal fatalities occurred at a beach (46%), offshore locations (16%) or bay (12%).

0.25

45-64

55

15-YEAR AVERAGE FATALITY RATE PER 100,000 POPULATION

YEARS OF AGE

15-YEAR AVERAGE UNINTENTIONAL FATALITIES

&

60-64 YEARS OF AGE

120 60 100 50 80

40

60

30

12-1 am 1-2am 2-3am 3-4am 4-5am 5-6am 6-7am 7-8am 8-9am 9-10am 10-11am 11-12pm 12-1pm 1-2pm 2-3pm 3-4pm 4-5pm 5-6pm 6-7pm 7-8pm 8-9pm 9-10pm 10-11pm 11-12am

June

May

April

March

February

January

December

0 November

0 October

10

September

20

August

20

July

40

Figure 62

Figure 63

2004-19: UNINTENTIONAL COASTAL FATALITIES

2004-19: UNINTENTIONAL COASTAL FATALITIES BY TIME

BY MONTH

The time is known for 78% of all unintentional coastal and ocean fatalities (n=657). The highest density of fatalities occurred between 9am and 4pm (n=346).

The highest percentage of fatalities occurring in the month of December (n=109), followed by January (n=86) and April (n=76). Sixty-eight per cent occurred outside of the summer months. Shading denotes seasons.

SECTION THREE

47

DROWNING ANALYSIS


D R O W N I N G D E AT H V S F ATA L I T Y R E V I E W O F T R E N D S OV E R T I M E

2018 -19

2014 -19

2004 -19

2009 -19

DROWNING DEATH

FATALITY 2018 - 19

43

32

SWIMMING/WADING

33

17

5

2009 - 19

6

2004 - 19

6

2018 - 19

25

BOATING & PWC

8

2014 - 19

37

9

2014 - 19

24

2009 - 19

24

2004 - 19

9

12

10

2009 - 19

1

2004 - 19

1

2018 - 19

4

2014 - 19

6

9

2009 - 19

6 5

2004 - 19

14

2018 - 19

17 14 12

7

2014 - 19

6

2009 - 19

6 7

2004 - 19

2018 - 19

6

ATTEMPTED RESCUE

2

9

8

SCUBA DIVING & SNORKELLING

18

2014 - 19

13

WATERCRAFT

16

2018 - 19

11

ROCK FISHING

13

4

2014 - 19

4

2009 - 19

4

2004 - 19 1

1

Figure 64

ACTIVITY TREND: 15 YEAR (2004-19), 10 YEAR (2009-19) AND 5 YEAR (2014-19) AVERAGE NUMBERS OF DROWNING DEATHS AND FATALITIES COMPARED WITH TOTAL NUMBERS FOR 2018-19

SURF LIFE SAVING AUSTR ALIA

48

NATIONAL COASTAL SAFET Y REPORT 2019


2018 -19

2014 -19

2009 -19

2004 -19

DROWNING DEATH

50%

FATALITY

60%

0%

40% 30% 20% 10% 0% Beach

Offshore

Rock/Cliff

Bay

Port/Marina

Jetty

Other

10% 20% 30% 40% 50%

Figure 65

15 YEAR (2004-19), 10 YEAR (2009-19) AND 5 YEAR (2014-19) LOCATION TRENDS OF DROWNING DEATHS AND FATALITIES COMPARED WITH 2018-19

1,200

Overseas born Australian born

Fatalities Drowning deaths

1,000

1,000 800

800

Numbers (n)

Numbers (n)

600 400 200

600 400 200 0

0 Australia

Asia

Europe

Oceania

North America

New Zealand

Africa

Latin America

Drowning death

Fatality

Figure 66

Figure 67

2004-19 CONTINENT OF ORIGIN FOR DROWNING DEATHS AND FATALITIES

PLACE OF BIRTH OF AUSTRALIAN RESIDENTS INVOLVED IN DROWNING DEATHS AND FATALITIES (2004-19)

Continent of origin was known for 74% drowning deaths (n=1,225) and 76% of fatalities (n=630). For these cases combined, 54% were Australian, 18% were from Asia and 17% were European.

Visitor or residence status was known for 88% drowning deaths (n=962) and 92% of fatalities (n=502). Continent of origin was known for 78% of residents (n=1,464) with residents who were born overseas accounting for 34% and 26% of Australian resident drowning death and fatality cases respectively.

SECTION THREE

49

DROWNING ANALYSIS


NEW SOUTH WALE S

60

8%

49 39 40 33

Number (n)

30

0.8

49 49

43 45

44 0.7 39 32

33

29

36

0.6 0.5

20 0.4 10

0.3

4% 5%

8%

2017-18

34% Swimming/Wading Rock Fishing Boating Watercraft Attempting a Rescue Fall Snorkelling Scuba Diving Other Unknown

Swimming/ Wading 11%

2018-19

2015-16

2016-17

2013-14

2014-15

2011-12

2012-13

2010-11

2009-10

2007-08

2008-09

2006-07

2005-06

34%

5%

0.0 2004-05

0

Rate (per 100,000 pop.)

50 40

3% 3%

56

19%

Figure 68

Figure 70

2004–19: 15-YEAR TREND OF NSW COASTAL AND OCEAN DROWNING DEATHS

2004–19: COASTAL AND OCEAN DROWNING DEATHS BY ACTIVITY (n=616)

In 2018–19, coastal and ocean drowning deaths in New South Wales (NSW) were over the 15-year average of 41. The rate per 100,000 population was 0.55, under the average rate of 0.56.

The majority of coastal and ocean drowning deaths in NSW occurred when swimming/wading (n=209), rock fishing (n=117), boating (n=68) and using watercraft (n=49).

Swimming/Wading

Attempting a Rescue

2004-19

2018-19

2004-19

2018-19

0.19

0.19

0.03

0.04

Boating & PWC

Scuba Diving

2004-19

2018-19

2004-19

2018-19

0.06

0.04

0.02

0.02

Watercraft

Snorkelling

2004-19

2018-19

2004-19

2018-19

0.04

0.02

0.02

0.02

Rock Fishing

Fall

2004-19

2018-19

2004-19

2018-19

0.11

0.10

0.03

0.06

Figure 69

15-YEAR AVERAGE COMPARED TO 2018-19 COASTAL AND OCEAN DROWNING RATES BY ACTIVITY In 2018-19 drowning death rates (per 100,000 population) were lower than the 15-year average in boating and PWC, watercraft and rock fishing related incidents. The yearly rate of incidents related to attempting a rescue and falls were higher than the 15-year average.

SURF LIFE SAVING AUSTR ALIA

50

NATIONAL COASTAL SAFET Y REPORT 2019


DROWNING SNAPSHOT

2004–19 COASTAL & OCEAN DROWNING DEATHS

2018–19 COASTAL & OCEAN DROWNING DEATHS 9 2 2 4 12 4 5 2

2 7 5 2 2 2

4

2 10 2 2

3 2 2 2

4 3 4

2 2 3 7 3 2 2 3 2 3 4 2 6 7 3 2 4 2 2 2 4 5 14 3 5 6

2

2 3 5 2 4 10 10 2 4 3 3 2 5 4 2 2 13 9 2 2 2 2

3

SYDNEY

44

5 2 2 4

0.55

PER 100,000 POPULATION

5% 3% 5%

3 3 2

2 2

2

FATALITY RATE

DROWNING DEATHS BY ACTIVITY

25 20 16 6 5 4 4 4 3 2 16 14 14 8 5 3 9 4 3

2

CANBERRA

Lord Howe Island

COASTAL & OCEAN DROWNING DEATHS

5%

4

34%

2

5%

2

Attempting a Rescue Boating and PWC Fall Jump Land-based fishing Other

Rock Fishing Scuba Diving Snorkelling Swimming/Wading Unknown

AVERAGE NUMBER

4

Watercraft Multiple instances per activity at the same location Capital city

7%

7%

0.56

41

PER 100,000 POPULATION

89% 11% MALE

34%

Swimming/ Wading 11%

AVERAGE FATALITY RATE

Swimming/Wading Rock Fishing Fall Attempting a Rescue Boating Watercraft Snorkelling Scuba Diving Jump Unknown

18%

DROWNING DEATHS BY LOCATION 7%

34%

59% Beach

FEMALE

59%

Beach Rocks/Cliffs Offshore

KEY DEMOGRAPHIC

20-34

YEAR OLD SWIMMERS/ WADERS

&

40-59 YEAR OLD ROCK FISHERS

45%

LESS THAN 1KM FROM A SURF LIFE SAVING SERVICE


QUEENSLAND

20

24

22

21

23 23 0.6

23

20 17

15

Number (n)

3% 3%

25

15

16

0.5

17

16 14

13

0.4

10 0.3

5

2017-18

33%

33%

8%

12%

Swimming/ Wading

2018-19

2015-16

2016-17

2013-14

2014-15

2011-12

2012-13

2010-11

2009-10

2007-08

2008-09

2006-07

2005-06

2%

4%

0.2 2004-05

0

3% 3%

Rate (per 100,000 pop.)

25

28%

Swimming/Wading Boating & PWC Snorkelling Watercraft Fall Attempting a Rescue Scuba Diving Non-aquatic Transport Rock Fishing Other Unknown

Figure 71

Figure 73

2004–19: 15-YEAR TREND OF QLD COASTAL AND OCEAN DROWNING DEATHS

2004–19: COASTAL AND OCEAN DROWNING DEATHS BY ACTIVITY (n=289)

In 2018–19, coastal and ocean drowning deaths remained the same as the previous year in Queensland (Qld). This is above the 15 year average of 19.

The majority of coastal and ocean drowning deaths in Qld occurred when swimming/wading (n=95), boating & PWC (n=81), snorkelling (n=35) and using watercraft (n=23).

Swimming/Wading

Attempting a Rescue

2004-19

2018-19

2004-19

2018-19

0.13

0.26

0.01

0.00

Boating & PWC

Scuba Diving

2004-19

2018-19

2004-19

2018-19

0.12

0.06

0.01

0.00

Watercraft

Snorkelling

2004-19

2018-19

2004-19

2018-19

0.04

0.04

0.06

0.08

Rock Fishing

Fall

2004-19

2018-19

2004-19

2018-19

0.01

0.00

0.02

0.02

Figure 72

15-YEAR AVERAGE COMPARED TO 2018-19 COASTAL AND OCEAN DROWNING RATES BY ACTIVITY Drowning death rates (per 100,000 population) were higher than the 15-year average in swimming/wading, watercraft and snorkelling activities in 2018-19. The rates are lower than the 15-year average for boating and PWC, rock fishing, attempting a rescue and scuba diving.

SURF LIFE SAVING AUSTR ALIA

52

NATIONAL COASTAL SAFET Y REPORT 2019


DROWNING SNAPSHOT

2018 -19 COASTAL & OCEAN DROWNING DEATHS

2004-19 COASTAL & OCEAN DROWNING DEATHS Attempting a Rescue Boating and PWC Fall Jump Land-based Fishing Other Rock Fishing Scuba Diving Snorkelling Swimming/Wading Unknown Watercraft Multiple instances per activity at the same location Capital city

2

4

3 2

COASTAL & OCEAN DROWNING DEATHS

23

FATALITY RATE

0.46

PER 100,000 POPULATION

DROWNING DEATHS BY ACTIVITY 4%

6 3 2 2 2 2

9%

3 3

2

13%

3

57%

3 2

2 2

2

17%

57%

Swimming/ Wading

Swimming/Wading Snorkelling Boating & PWC Watercraft Fall

2

3

2 2 2 4 2

DROWNING DEATHS BY LOCATION

2 2 6 2 2 2 2 4 2 2 2

2 2 2

2

BRISBANE 2 2 3 8

4%

10 9 6 3 2 2 2 9 3 2 2 2

4%

13%

AVERAGE NUMBER

19

AVERAGE FATALITY RATE

0.42

PER 100,000 POPULATION

79% Beach 79%

KEY DEMOGRAPHIC

15-34

YEAR OLD SWIMMERS/ WADERS

&

60-64 YEAR OLD BOATERS

46 %

LESS THAN 1KM FROM A SURF LIFE SAVING SERVICE

Beach Offshore Rock/Cliff Port/Marina


VICTORIA

25 20 15

16 11

10

0.4

15 11

12 13

13

0.3

10

0.2

5

2017-18

32%

5%

32%

5% 5% 7%

2018-19

2016-17

2014-15

2015-16

2012-13

2013-14

2011-12

2010-11

2009-10

2007-08

2008-09

2005-06

2004-05

0

5% 4%

0.1 2006-07

Number (n)

14

0.5

20

20

19

10%

23

23

Rate (per 100,000 pop.)

24

Swimming/Wading Boating & PWC Watercraft Scuba Diving Rock Fishing Snorkelling Attempting a Rescue Fall Other Unknown

Swimming/ Wading 20% 8%

Figure 74

Figure 76

2004–19: 15-YEAR TREND OF VIC COASTAL AND OCEAN DROWNING DEATHS

2004–19: COASTAL AND OCEAN DROWNING DEATHS BY ACTIVITY (n=244)

In 2018–19, the number of coastal and ocean drowning deaths in Victoria (Vic) showed an increase from 2017-18 and was above the 15-year average of 16 .

The majority of coastal and ocean drowning deaths in Vic occurred when swimming/wading (n=78), boating & PWC (n=49) and using watercraft (n=20).

Swimming/Wading

Attempting a Rescue

2004-19

2018-19

2004-19

2018-19

0.09

0.08

0.01

0.03

Boating & PWC

Scuba Diving

2004-19

2018-19

2004-19

2018-19

0.06

0.05

0.02

0.03

Watercraft

Snorkelling

2004-19

2018-19

2004-19

2018-19

0.02

0.05

0.01

0.03

Rock Fishing

Fall

2004-19

2018-19

2004-19

2018-19

0.02

0.00

0.01

0.03

Figure 75

15-YEAR AVERAGE COMPARED TO 2018-19 COASTAL AND OCEAN DROWNING RATES BY ACTIVITY In 2018-19 drowning death rates (per 100,000 population) were higher than or equal to the 15-year average for all activities except for swimming/wading, boating and PWC and rock fishing.

SURF LIFE SAVING AUSTR ALIA

54

NATIONAL COASTAL SAFET Y REPORT 2019


DROWNING SNAPSHOT

2018–19 COASTAL & OCEAN DROWNING DEATHS

2004–19 COASTAL & OCEAN DROWNING DEATHS

COASTAL & OCEAN DROWNING DEATHS 2 19 8 6 4 2

2 3 5

2 3 2 3

2 2 5

2

DROWNING DEATHS BY ACTIVITY

7

2 2 2 2 3 4 4 4 2 2 2 3 4 4 2 2 2 2 3

Attempting a Rescue Boating and PWC Fall Jump Land-based fishing Other

PER 100,000 POPULATION

2

2 6 9 2 2

0.35

23

MELBOURNE 2 3 7 7 14 2

FATALITY RATE

13% 22% 4%

Rock Fishing Scuba Diving Snorkelling Swimming/Wading Unknown

AVERAGE NUMBER

4

Watercraft Multiple instances per activity at the same location Capital city

9%

Swimming/ Wading

9%

AVERAGE FATALITY RATE

9%

0.28

16

22%

13%

13% 9%

Swimming/Wading Boating Watercraft Attempting a Rescue Fall Scuba Diving Snorkelling Jump Unknown

PER 100,000 POPULATION

DROWNING DEATHS BY LOCATION

86% 14%

4%

4%

9%

MALE

FEMALE

20-29

YEAR OLD SWIMMERS

Beach

17%

KEY DEMOGRAPHIC

&

52%

13%

60-69 YEAR OLD BOATERS

35%

52%

Beach Bay Offshore Port/Marina Rock/Cliff Jetty

BETWEEN 1 AND 5KM FROM A SURF LIFE SAVING SERVICE


WESTERN AUSTR ALIA

30

20

Number (n)

1.2

21

15

20

18

17

6%

29

25

15

10

16 16

14

1.0

16

15 13

11

9

0.8 0.6

5

0.4

5%

Rate (per 100,000 pop.)

30

8%

11%

2018-19

2017-18

2016-17

2014-15

2015-16

2013-14

2011-12

2012-13

2010-11

2009-10

2007-08

2008-09

2006-07

2005-06

2004-05

25%

5%

0.2

0

2%

Boating & PWC Swimming/Wading Rock Fishing Snorkelling Watercraft Fall Scuba Diving Attempting a Rescue Other Unknown

25% Boating

22%

14%

Figure 77

Figure 79

2004–19: 15-YEAR TREND OF WA COASTAL AND OCEAN DROWNING DEATHS

2004–19: COASTAL AND OCEAN DROWNING DEATHS BY ACTIVITY (n=260)

In 2018–19, coastal and ocean drowning deaths in Western Australia (WA) dropped to below the 15-year average of 17. From 2004 to 2019, the average rate per 100,000 population is 0.73.

The majority of coastal and ocean drowning deaths in WA occurred when boating & PWC (n=65), swimming/wading (n=57), rock fishing (n=36) and snorkelling (n=29).

Swimming/Wading

Attempting a Rescue

2004-19

2018-19

2004-19

2018-19

0.16

0.08

0.01

0.00

Boating & PWC

Scuba Diving

2004-19

2018-19

2004-19

2018-19

0.19

0.31

0.03

0.00

Watercraft

Snorkelling

2004-19

2018-19

2004-19

2018-19

0.06

0.04

0.08

0.04

Rock Fishing

Fall

2004-19

2018-19

2004-19

2018-19

0.10

0.04

0.04

0.00

Figure 78

15-YEAR AVERAGE COMPARED TO 2018-19 COASTAL AND OCEAN DROWNING RATES BY ACTIVITY Drowning death rates (per 100,000 population) were lower than the 15-year average in all activities in 2018-19, except boating and PWC.

SURF LIFE SAVING AUSTR ALIA

56

NATIONAL COASTAL SAFET Y REPORT 2019


DROWNING SNAPSHOT

2018–19 COASTAL & OCEAN DROWNING DEATHS

2004–19 COASTAL & OCEAN DROWNING DEATHS

4

Attempting a Rescue Boating and PWC Fall Jump Land-based Fishing Other Rock Fishing Scuba Diving Snorkelling Swimming/Wading Unknown Watercraft Multiple instances per activity at the same location Capital city

Ashmore Reef

COASTAL & OCEAN DROWNING DEATHS

5

15

FATALITY RATE

0.58

PER 100,000 POPULATION

DROWNING DEATHS BY ACTIVITY

2

7%

2 2

7% 7%

2

7%

2 2

53% Boating

2 6 2 2 2

7%

2 2 4

53% Boating Swimming/Wading Non-aquatic Transport Rock Fishing Snorkelling Watercraft Unknown

13%

15

2 3

2 2 3

DROWNING DEATHS BY LOCATION

2 2 2 2 3 2 5 3

2 2 8 2 2 9 4 6 2 2

PERTH

7% 7% 4 5 2

2 2

13%

2

2 3 4

53% Offshore

3 3

2 7 2

20%

KEY DEMOGRAPHIC

30-39

YEAR OLD SWIMMERS/ WADERS & SNORKELLERS

&

60-65 YEAR OLD BOATERS

80%

53%

Offshore Beach Rock/Cliff Bay Port/Marina

GREATER THAN 5KM FROM A SURF LIFE SAVING SERVICE


SOUTH AUSTR ALIA

15

1.0

9

9

8 Number (n)

13 0.8

12 10

9

6

7

7

7

0.6

7

0.4

5 4

3

3

0.2

3

0

Rate (per 100,000 pop.)

13

12

3%

6%

3% 3% 39%

3% 3% 3% 4% 6%

Swimming/Wading Boating & PWC Fall Scuba Diving Land-based Fishing Snorkelling Watercraft Attempting a Rescue Non-aquatic Transport Other Unknown

39% Swimming/ Wading

2018-19

2017-18

2016-17

2014-15

2015-16

2013-14

2011-12

2012-13

2010-11

2009-10

2007-08

2008-09

2006-07

2005-06

2004-05

0.0

26%

Figure 80

Figure 82

2004–19: 15-YEAR TREND OF SA COASTAL AND OCEAN DROWNING DEATHS

2004–19: COASTAL AND OCEAN DROWNING DEATHS BY ACTIVITY (n=117)

In 2018–19, the number of coastal and ocean drowning deaths in South Australia (SA) increased above the 2004-19 annual average of 8. This year, the rate per 100,000 population was 0.75.

The majority of coastal and ocean drowning deaths in SA occurred when swimming/wading (n=46) and boating and PWC (n=30).

Swimming/Wading

Attempting a Rescue

2004-19

2018-19

2004-19

2018-19

0.19

0.40

0.02

0.06

Boating & PWC

Scuba Diving

2004-19

2018-19

2004-19

2018-19

0.12

0.00

0.02

0.06

Watercraft

Snorkelling

2004-19

2018-19

2004-19

2018-19

0.02

0.06

0.02

0.00

Rock Fishing

Fall

2004-19

2018-19

2004-19

2018-19

0.00

0.00

0.03

0.00

Figure 81

15-YEAR AVERAGE COMPARED TO 2018-19 COASTAL AND OCEAN DROWNING RATES BY ACTIVITY Drowning death rates (per 100,000 population) were increased from the 15-year average in swimming/wading, watercraft, scuba diving and attempting a rescue activities in 2018-19. There was a decrease from the average for boating and PWC, fall and snorkelling activities.

SURF LIFE SAVING AUSTR ALIA

58

NATIONAL COASTAL SAFET Y REPORT 2019


DROWNING SNAPSHOT

2018–19 COASTAL & OCEAN DROWNING DEATHS

2004–19 COASTAL & OCEAN DROWNING DEATHS

COASTAL & OCEAN DROWNING DEATHS 2

2 2

13

3

2

FATALITY RATE

0.75

PER 100,000 POPULATION

2 2

4

11

Attempting a Rescue Boating and PWC Fall Jump Land-based Fishing Other Rock Fishing Scuba Diving Snorkelling Swimming/Wading Unknown Watercraft Multiple instances per activity at the same location Capital city

ADELAIDE

2 2

DROWNING DEATHS BY ACTIVITY

10 3 4

8%

2 2

3 6

3

15%

2

54%

3

8%

8%

AVERAGE NUMBER

AVERAGE FATALITY RATE

0.47

8

Swimming/ Wading

54% Swimming/Wading Attempting a Rescue Scuba Diving Watercraft Other Unknown

8%

PER 100,000 POPULATION

DROWNING DEATHS BY LOCATION

80% 20% MALE

8%

23%

69% Beach

FEMALE

Beach Rock/Cliff Offshore

KEY DEMOGRAPHIC

15-24

&

YEAR OLD SWIMMERS/WADERS

69%

45-54 YEAR OLD BOATERS

54%

GREATER THAN 5KM FROM A SURF LIFE SAVING SERVICE


TA S M A N I A

10

6%

8

8

6

Number (n)

6 4

5

6 5

5

5

2.0

6 5

1.5

4 3

2

3

3

1.0

Rate (per 100,000 pop.)

9

8

6%

2017-18

46%

Boating 10%

2018-19

2016-17

2015-16

2013-14

2014-15

2011-12

2012-13

2010-11

2009-10

2007-08

2008-09

2006-07

2005-06

2004-05

46%

7%

0.5

0

2%

6%

11%

Boating Swimming/wading Fall Rock Fishing Watercraft Scuba Diving Attempting a Rescue Land-based Fishing Other Unknown

Figure 83

Figure 85

2004–19: 15-YEAR TREND OF TAS COASTAL AND OCEAN DROWNING DEATHS

2004–19: COASTAL AND OCEAN DROWNING DEATHS BY ACTIVITY (n=81)

In 2018–19, there were three coastal and ocean drowning deaths in Tasmania (Tas). This is below the 15-year annual average of five.

The majority of coastal and ocean drowning deaths in Tas occurred when boating (n=37), swimming/wading (n=9) and falls (n=8).

Swimming/Wading

Attempting a Rescue

2004-19

2018-19

2004-19

2018-19

0.12

0.19

0.03

0.00

Boating

Scuba Diving

2004-19

2018-19

2004-19

2018-19

0.48

0.00

0.07

0.00

Watercraft

Snorkelling

2004-19

2018-19

2004-19

2018-19

0.07

0.19

0.01

0.00

Rock Fishing

Fall

2004-19

2018-19

2004-19

2018-19

0.08

0.00

0.11

0.00

Figure 84

15-YEAR AVERAGE COMPARED TO 2018-19 COASTAL AND OCEAN DROWNING RATES BY ACTIVITY Drowning death rates (per 100,000 population) were lower than the 15-year average in all activities in 2018-19, except for swimming/wading and watercraft activities.

SURF LIFE SAVING AUSTR ALIA

60

NATIONAL COASTAL SAFET Y REPORT 2019


DROWNING SNAPSHOT

2004–19 COASTAL & OCEAN DROWNING DEATHS

COASTAL & OCEAN DROWNING DEATHS

2

3

2

2

2

2

HOBART

9 2 2 3

2

Rock Fishing Scuba Diving Snorkelling Swimming/Wading Unknown

AVERAGE NUMBER

4

Watercraft Multiple instances per activity at the same location Capital city

0.56

PER 100,000 POPULATION

33% 33%

33%

Swimming/ Wading

AVERAGE FATALITY RATE

1.06

5

FATALITY RATE

DROWNING DEATHS BY ACTIVITY

2 4

Attempting a Rescue Boating Fall Jump Land-based fishing Other

2018–19 COASTAL & OCEAN DROWNING DEATHS

Watercraft Swimming/Wading Non-aquatic Transport

33%

PER 100,000 POPULATION

DROWNING DEATHS BY LOCATION

86% 14%

33%

MALE

FEMALE

67% Beach

67%

Beach Jetty

KEY DEMOGRAPHIC

KEY DEMOGRAPHIC

35-44 55-59 YEAR OLD BOATERS

YEAR OLD BOATERS

33%

GREATER THAN 5KM FROM A SURF LIFE SAVING SERVICE


NORTHERN TERRITORY

6

6

12%

5

4

5

2.5

4

4

2.0

Number (n)

3

3

2

2

1

2

3

3

1.5 1.0

2

1

1

0.5

Rate (per 100,000 pop.)

3.0

5

10% 41%

7%

0.0 2017-18

Boating Fall Swimming/Wading Attempting a Rescue Jump Scuba Diving/Snorkelling Other Unknown

Boating 7%

2018-19

2016-17

2014-15

2015-16

2013-14

2011-12

2012-13

2010-11

2009-10

2007-08

2008-09

2006-07

2005-06

2004-05

0

41%

5%

7%

10%

Figure 86

Figure 88

2004–19: 15-YEAR TREND OF NT COASTAL AND OCEAN DROWNING DEATHS

2004–19: COASTAL AND OCEAN DROWNING DEATHS BY ACTIVITY (n=41)

In 2018–19, coastal and ocean drowning deaths in Northern Territory (NT) decreased to 1, below the 15-year average of 3.

The majority of coastal and ocean drowning deaths in NT occurred when boating (n=17) and falls (n=4).

Swimming/Wading

Attempting a Rescue

2004-19

2017-19

2004-19

2017-19

0.09

0.14

0.10

0.00

Boating

Scuba Diving

2004-19

2017-19

2004-19

2017-19

0.57

0.40

0.03

0.00

Watercraft

Snorkelling

2004-19

2017-19

2004-19

2017-19

0.00

0.00

0.03

0.00

Rock Fishing

Fall

2004-19

2017-19

2004-19

2017-19

0.00

0.00

0.13

0.14

Figure 87

15-YEAR AVERAGE COMPARED TO 2017-19 COASTAL AND OCEAN DROWNING RATES BY ACTIVITY Drowning death rates (per 100,000 population) were lower than the 15-year average for boating, attempting a rescue, scuba diving and snorkelling activities in 2017-19. The rates were higher for falls and swimming/wading related incidents.

SURF LIFE SAVING AUSTR ALIA

62

NATIONAL COASTAL SAFET Y REPORT 2019


DROWNING SNAPSHOT

2004–19 COASTAL & OCEAN DROWNING DEATHS

2018–19 COASTAL & OCEAN DROWNING DEATHS

1

2 3

DARWIN 2 2 2 3 3

COASTAL & OCEAN DROWNING DEATHS

FATALITY RATE

0.41

PER 100,000 POPULATION

2

2017–19 DROWNING DEATHS BY ACTIVITY 14%

Attempting a Rescue Boating Fall Jump Land-based Fishing Other

Rock Fishing Scuba Diving Snorkelling Swimming/Wading Unknown

4

Watercraft Multiple instances per activity at the same location Capital city

14%

43% 14%

AVERAGE NUMBER

3 1.18

PER 100,000 POPULATION

88% 12% MALE

FEMALE

Boating

KEY DEMOGRAPHIC

2017–19 DROWNING DEATHS BY LOCATION 14% 29% 14%

29% 14%

Offshore

YEAR OLD BOATERS

Offshore Port/Marina Bay Beach Jetty

2017 - 19

35-39 60-69 71% YEAR OLD BOATERS

Boating Swimming/Wading Jump Fall Unknown

14%

29%

KEY DEMOGRAPHIC

43%

GREATER THAN 5KM FROM A SURF LIFE SAVING SERVICE


GLOSSARY

Adult  For the purpose of this report, adults refer to a person 16 years of age and over. Advanced Resuscitation Techniques  A certification providing the skills and knowledge required to use specialised equipment in the provision of resuscitation in line with the Australian Resuscitation Council (ARC) guidelines. ALS  Australian Lifeguard Service. Apply First Aid  A certification providing the skills and knowledge required to provide a first aid response to a casualty. Attempting a rescue  Trying to retrieve a person in distress and deliver them to a place of safety. AWSC  Australian Water Safety Council also Australian Water Safety Conference. AWSS  Australian Water Safety Strategy. Bay  A body of water partially enclosed by land but with a wide mouth, affording access to the sea. Beach  A wave-deposited accumulation of sediment – usually sand, but ranging in size up to boulders  deposited between the upper swash limit and wave base. Blackspot  An area with a concentration of coastal/ocean incidents and a high probability/risk of ongoing recurrence. Boating  Using either a powered vessel or sailing boat for pleasure and/or fishing. Bystander  A person who is present at an incident but not part of it initially. Coastal  Describes the foreshore, seabed, coastal water and air space above a large body of water (harbour/bay/inlet), including areas up to 3nm offshore and of which the landward boundary is the line of mean high water, except where that line crosses a river/inlet, the landward boundary at that point shall be the point upstream that is calculated by multiplying the width of the river/inlet mouth by five. (Adopted from the Resource Management Amendment Act 1993  New Zealand). COD  Cause of death. Crude drowning rate  A comparative rate of drowning to the size of the population in a given area. Dangerous surf warning  An alert issued by the Bureau of Meteorology indicating that surf conditions in an area are unsafe for coastal activities. The warnings are calculated based on wave height, swell direction and swell period and must exceed the predetermined limitations to be in effect. Drowning  The process of experiencing respiratory impairment from submersion/immersion in liquid; outcomes are classified as death, morbidity and no morbidity. Drowning Death  A fatal incident arising from the process of respiratory impairment as a result of submersion/immersion in liquid.

SURF LIFE SAVING AUSTR ALIA

Drugs  A medicine or other substance which has a physiological effect when ingested or otherwise introduced to the body. The category includes therapeutic, over-the-counter and illicit drugs. Emergency response  An action taken by an SLS entity in response to a call for assistance from an emergency management organisation. Falls (trips/slips)  Events that result in a person coming to rest inadvertently on the ground or other lower level. Fatality  A fatal incident arising from circumstances other than drowning (e.g. medical condition, injury, self-harm, marine creature). First Aid  Assessments and interventions that can be performed by a bystander (or by the victim) with minimal to no equipment. Fishing  The act of attempting to catch fish from anywhere except coastal rock platforms. Foreign ethnicity  Describes an individual who identifies with a cultural group other than Australian based on heritage, language or shared customs. This identification is extrapolated from reported data such as the individuals’ country of birth and the main language spoken at home. Hazard  A source of potential harm. ILS  International Life Saving Federation. Incident  Any unplanned event requiring lifesaving services intervention. Inland  An area that is beyond the line of mean high water or within a landward distance of five times the width of the coastal inlet/ river mouth. Inshore  The coastal water area within 500m of the low tide area of the foreshore. International  Describes an individual who is confirmed to reside overseas and/or is a temporary visitor to Australia. IRB  Inflatable rescue boat. IRD  Incident report database. A web-based portal used by SLS services to electronically record incident reports. Jetty  An artificial structure that projects out into the water from land. JRB  Jet rescue boat. Jump(ing)  The activity of launching off a cliff, rock platform, pier, jetty. Aka tombstoning (UK/Europe/North America). Lake  An inland body of water surrounded by land. Lifeguard  An individual who undertakes patrols at a beach or another aquatic environment. He/she is typically a salaried member, qualified in public safety and aquatic rescue. Lifejacket  A buoyant or inflatable garment or device designed to keep a person afloat in water and increase their likelihood of survival.

64

NATIONAL COASTAL SAFET Y REPORT 2019


Lifesaving Service  A coordinated group that exists to provide aquatic safety services to the public. This includes Surf Life Saving Clubs, Lifeguards, SurfCom, RWCs, RIBs, JRBs, ORBs, Rescue Helicopters and 4WD units. Local Government Area (LGA)  Also known as local councils, LGAs include cities, town, shires, municipalities or boroughs. Marina  a man-made boat basin having sea walls or breakwaters and offering dockage and other services for water vessels. Medical  For the purpose of this report, medical refers to an aquatic incident that was caused by a medical episode, e.g.a heart attack or epileptic seizure. NCIS  National Coronial Information System. Non-aquatic fatality  Non-aquatic fatalities refer to incidents which have occurred at a coastal location but not in the aquatic environment. Non-aquatic transport  Any form of transport that is not meant for the water such as airplanes, bicycles, and motor vehicles. Offshore  Describes the coastal water area beyond the surf zone and inshore area from 500m to 200nm. Ocean  The seabed, water and air space above the water between 3nm and 12nm (the Australian Territorial Sea) offshore. ORB  Offshore rescue boat. Other  An uncommon known activity not otherwise listed (e.g., paragliding, aircraft crash). Patrol  Service undertaken to monitor activities in/around an aquatic environment and respond accordingly through either preventative actions or rescue operations. Patrol flags  Red/yellow horizontally divided flags which are set after performing a risk assessment to determine the most suitable area for swimming. The flags identify a zone for swimming and bodyboarding within a patrolled location. Patrolled location  A location supervised by a lifesaving service. Preventative action  Direct action taken to reduce or eliminate the probability of a specific rescue, first aid or other reportable incident from happening in the future. PWC  Personal water craft, also known as jet ski. Rescue  The retrieval of a person in distress, delivering them to a place of safety and the application of first aid and basic life support as may be required. Resuscitation  Prevention or restoration of life by establishing and maintaining a person’s airway, breathing and circulation. RIB  Rigid-hull inflatable boat. Rip current  A seaward flowing current of water moving through a surf zone. River  A natural stream of water flowing into an ocean, lake or other body of water. Rock/cliff  A rock platform that may or may not have a high steep face.

SURF LIFE SAVING AUSTR ALIA

Rock fishing  The act of attempting to catch fish from a coastal rock platform. Rock shelf  A section of rock above or below the water level that projects out from the coast. RWC  Rescue water craft. Scuba diving  Swimming underwater with the aid of scuba equipment for recreational or commercial purposes. Service season and hours  Vary between states due to climatic factors, but in the context of this report, the season is for the period July 2018 to June 2019. Snorkelling  Swimming with a snorkel and face mask. Includes freediving and spearfishing. Sovereign waters  The seabed, water and air space above the water between 12nm and 200nm (the Australian Contiguous, Exclusive Economic and Fishing Zones) offshore. SurfCom  SLS radio communications centre that assists in managing the communications of lifesaving operations and data collection. Surf lifesaver  An individual who undertakes patrols at a beach or other aquatic environment. He/she is typically a nonsalaried member qualified in public safety and aquatic rescue. Surf Life Saving Club  A SLS affiliated not-for-profit organisation that has volunteer members who provide coastal safety services to the community. Swimming  Moving through water by moving the body or parts of the body. Territorial seas  The seaward limits of Australia’s maritime zones, from the coastline to 12nm from the low tide line. Total Service Plan  An assessment of current and future lifesaving resources, trends, national blackspots and coastal safety issues combined with evidence-based mitigation strategies to address these issues. Toxicity  The degree to which a chemical substance or a particular mixture of substances is toxic or poisonous to an organism. In the context of this report, toxicity refers to alcohol or drug used by a drowning victim. Unintentional Fatality  Include deaths other than drowning deaths (such as medical incidents, accidents, or marine creature), however for this report exclude homicide and selfharm related incidents. Wading  Walking through water while partially immersed. Watercraft  A piece of non-powered recreational equipment used in water. Examples include surf boards, stand-up paddle boards, boogie boards, windsurfers or kayaks.

65

GLOSSARY


REFERENCE

METHODOLOGY The National Coastal Safety Report 2019 contains information on Australian community behaviours and attitudes to the coast; SLS capability and membership capacity; rescues and emergency response; and coastal drowning deaths and other fatalities that occurred in Australia’s waters for the period of 1 July 2018 to 30 June 2019. This information is correct as of 7 August 2019. 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. Data in figures may not always add up to 100% due to rounding.

Safety Department. The following variables are used to match fatal incidents from more than one data source: incident date; location; age; gender; and incident description. The NCIS is considered the ‘gold standard’ when there is a discrepancy in the detail collected from different data sources. Deaths are excluded as a coastal drowning if they are reported as ‘intentional deaths’, they are inland locations, or ‘drowning/ immersion’ is not a contributory factor as noted by the coroner. Coastal incidents that are deemed intentional or not due to drowning/immersion are logged as coastal fatalities instead. The authors are responsible for the use made of the data in this report. More detailed methodology can be found in the 2018 Coastal Safety Brief - Beaches.

THE AUSTRALIAN COMMUNITY ANALYSIS Information about community swimming ability, behaviours and attitudes to coastal safety, risk perceptions, safety strategies and rescues was gathered from the SLSA National Coastal Safety Survey. Conducted by Omnipoll Market Research, the latest survey was run online over the period 10 - 23 April 2019 among a national sample of 1,642 respondents aged 16 and above. The study was carried out in compliance with AS-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. The Australian population aged 16 and above (the reference population for this survey) is 18,712,000.

DROWNING DATA LIMITATIONS Over years of investigation as part of the NCIS process, some cases are amended prior to their closure, resulting in changes to the classification of cases in our datasets. Therefore, the number of coastal drowning deaths published in this report may be different from annual totals previously reported. In an effort to produce a timely report on our current year’s data we acknowledge that these figures will change. Each year, the changes that occur in the previous year’s report will be made transparent. The data in this current report are not the final figures as 84% of 2018–19 coastal/ocean drowning deaths and 67% of 2018-19 other fatalities reported remain open cases and 35% of all cases do not yet have a cause of death (COD) listed. Once NCIS closes a case, SLSA modifies those with unknown intent and those where the cause of death is not drowning, from ‘coastal drowning’ to ‘coastal fatality’. Bars of two different colours are used to illustrate the incidents where a COD has not been listed on NCIS in Figure 43. The incidents are included in our annual totals and analysis, and they will remain so until a COD is listed other than drowning/immersion.

CAPABILITY AND RESCUE ANALYSIS SurfGuard, the Incident Report Database (IRD) and SurfCom management system (SurfCom) are web-based applications and part of a suite of applications that enable members, clubs, branches, state offices and SLSA to enter and access SLS operational (including rescues and first aids), capability (including assets and services), educational and administrative data. Information was extracted from SurfGuard to identify how many rescues were performed by volunteers, lifeguards and lifesaving services during 2018-19; and how many active surf lifesavers and award holders there were during 2018-19. The data was verified by SLS state/territory entities. Information about assets and services were gathered from each SLS state/ territory entity.

CHANGES FROM PREVIOUS REPORTS As part of the NCIS investigation process, some cases are amended prior to their closure and have resulted in changes to our datasets. This year SLSA has commenced a thorough review of its coastal and ocean fatality database to update all cases to the same inclusion standards. See Table 1.

DROWNING AND FATALITY DATA ANALYSIS SLSA collects incident data from SurfGuard, the IRD, SurfCom, the National Coronial Information System (NCIS) and by monitoring media reports for coastal and ocean incidents. The information is verified with the assistance of each state/ territory SLS entity and compiled for analysis by SLSA’s Coastal

SURF LIFE SAVING AUSTR ALIA

66

NATIONAL COASTAL SAFET Y REPORT 2019


electronic, mechanical, microcopying, photocopying, recording or otherwise) without prior permission from Surf Life Saving Australia.

Table 1

CHANGES IN THE NUMBER OF COASTAL AND OCEAN DROWNING DEATHS AS PREVIOUSLY REPORTED 2015 NCSR

2016 NCSR

2017 NCSR

2018 NCSR

2004–05

89

89

89

89

96

2005–06

95

96

96

95

107

2006–07

98

102

102

102

115

2007–08

89

89

89

89

104

2008–09

89

88

88

85

106

2009–10

85

85

85

80

105

2010–11

69

69

69

69

91

2011–12

113

113

114

114

117

2012–13

118

118

118

118

134

2013–14

83

84

82

80

85

2014–15

102

105

105

108

114

130

128

128

136

2015–16 2016–17 2017-18

116

119

110

110

107

2018-19

For enquiries concerning reproduction, contact SLSA on: phone 02 9215 8000; email: info@slsa.asn.au

2019 NCSR

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 SLSA wishes to thank the following people and organisations for their contribution to the National Coastal Safety Report 2019: the Australian Government: Department of Health; National Coronial Information System: Leanne Daking; Omnipoll: Frederic Anne; Royal Life Saving Society Australia: Amy Peden & Stacey Pidgeon; SLS state centres, branches, clubs, support operations and ALS; SLSA major national corporate partners: DHL , Holden and Westpac. This report was compiled by Shane Daw, National Coastal Risk and Safety Manager, Jasmin Lawes, Researcher, Nicole Cooney, Project Coordinator - Coastal Safety, Keiran Stone, Lifesaving Operations Manager and Luke Strasiotto, Lifesaving Officer. Cover Image: Shane Daw. Design: Melissa Conchar.

122

SUGGESTED CITATION: Surf Life Saving Australia (2019) National Coastal Safety Report 2019. SLSA: Sydney. REFERENCES •A  ustralian Bureau of Statistics, 2019, Australian Demographic Statistic Tables, cat. no. 3101.0, accessed 14 August 2019, https://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/ DetailsPage/3101.0Dec%202018?OpenDocument#Time •A  ustralian Water Safety Council (2016). Australian Water Safety Strategy 2016–20. Australian Water Safety Council: Sydney. • Newspoll (2009) Surf Safety and Rips Study. Newspoll: Sydney. • ‘ Coastal Safety Brief: Beaches.’ Surf Life Saving Australia: Sydney. Ryan, A, Rijksen, E, Daw, S (2018). • S LSA National Coastal Safety Survey (2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019). Newspoll/Omnipoll Online Omnibus April 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019. • SLSA Annual Reports.

CONTACT INFORMATION SLS receives Government funding to commence valuable initiatives and programs. However, we rely on the generosity of the community and corporate support to ensure they continue. To help Surf Life Saving please donate to: Surf Life Saving Foundation— slsfoundation.com.au For more information: Surf Life Saving Australia—sls.com.au Surf Life Saving New South Wales—surflifesaving.com.au Surf Life Saving Northern Territory—lifesavingnt.com.au Surf Life Saving Queensland—lifesaving.com.au Surf Life Saving South Australia—surflifesavingsa.com.au Surf Life Saving Tasmania—slst.asn.au Life Saving Victoria—lsv.com.au Surf Life Saving Western Australia—mybeach.com.au

© 2019 SURF LIFE SAVING AUSTRALIA 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

67

REFERENCE METHODOLOGY


DROWNING S N A P S H OT

COASTAL & OCEAN DROWNING DEATHS

MALE

FEMALE Location

AT THE BEACH

ROCK/CLIFF

OFFSHORE

AT LEAST 5KM FROM A LIFESAVING SERVICE

Activity

35% SWIMMING

8%

WATERCRAFT

14% BOATING & PWC

7%

SNORKELLING

1 15

13 23

23 44 3

Profile for SLSA

National Coastal Safety Report 2019  

The National Coastal Safety Report 2019 is a comprehensive summary and analysis of community perceptions, activities on the coast, coastal a...

National Coastal Safety Report 2019  

The National Coastal Safety Report 2019 is a comprehensive summary and analysis of community perceptions, activities on the coast, coastal a...