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NATIONAL COASTAL SAFETY REPORT 2011 A SUMMARY OF COASTAL DROWNING DEATHS IN AUSTRALIA


2010-11 National Snapshot 2011 National Coastal Safety Report

2010-11 NATIONAL COASTAL DROWNING SNAPSHOT

Overall

Activity

> 61 coastal drowning deaths.

> 19 (31%) were attributed to swimming/wading.

> Below the seven year average of 89.

> 17 (28%) were attributed to boating. > 6 (10%) were attributed to rock fishing.

Demographic > 52 (85%) were males.

> Rip currents contributed to 12 (20%) of all coastal drowning deaths.

> 14 (23%) were aged between 20-29 years. > 21 (34%) were of a foreign ethnicity. 5 (8%) of these were international visitors.

Time > 8 (13%) occurred between 3pm-4pm. > 25 (41%) occurred during summer.

Location > 29 (48%) occurred at a beach. > 22 (36%) lived less than 10km from their drowning location. > 20 (33%) lived more than 50km from their drowning location. > 30 (49%) individuals drowned over 5km from the nearest lifesaving service.

Definitions can be found on page 24.

2


Contents 2011 National Coastal Safety Report

CONTENTS

Introduction and Methodology

4

Coastal Drowning Deaths 2010-11 – National Overview

6

New South Wales

10

Queensland

12

Western Australia

14

South Australia

16

Case Studies

17

Victoria

18

Tasmania

20

Northern Territory and Remote Offshore Territories

22

Case Studies

23

Glossary of Terms

24

Why do people drown?

26

References

27

3


Methodology 2011 National Coastal Safety Report

INTRODUCTION

METHODOLOGY

For more than 100 years, Australians and visitors to Australia have been drawn to our coastline. With an estimated 100 million beach visitations each year, the task of ensuring the safety of everyone who visits Australia’s 11,600+ beaches and approximately 36,000 kilometres of coastline is an extremely challenging one, and one that Surf Life Saving (SLS) is dedicated to.

The 2010-11 National Coastal Safety Report contains information on all confirmed coastal drowning deaths for the period of 1 July 2010 to 30 June 2011. This information is correct as of 31 July 2011.

Since 1907, when a group of surf life saving clubs on Sydney’s beaches first emerged, the network of services protecting our coastline has grown rapidly. Today, volunteer surf lifesavers, SLS and councilemployed lifeguards, rescue helicopters, rescue power craft, surveillance systems and radio control and coordination centres all work together to ensure that our beaches are the safest in the world. This collaborative approach to coastal safety is essential in preventing drowning along our coastline. Despite this extensive network of services, coastal drowning deaths are still at unacceptable levels. In 2010-2011, there were 61 coastal drowning deaths* in Australia, and while this figure is down on last year’s 84 coastal drowning deaths and the seven-year average of 89, it still shows that there is significant work ahead of us – every life lost is one life too many. SLSA produces the National Coastal Safety Report to provide a detailed annual summary of coastal drowning deaths in Australia. In 2010-11 the report has adopted a more rigorous methodology to ensure the data provided is as thorough as possible and better assists all coastal safety service providers with evidence-based decision making. I commend this report to you as part of the ongoing process to reduce coastal drowning deaths. Brett Williamson OAM Chief Executive Officer Surf Life Saving Australia

*Correct at time of publication.

4

All care is taken to ensure the statistical information included in this report is correct. However, pending the outcome of ongoing coronial investigations, this data may be amended. A validation of drowning data has recently been completed by Surf Life Saving Australia (SLSA) using the National Coroners Information System (NCIS). This process included a review of definitions, with new definitions for coastal drowning death, inland drowning death, ocean drowning death, and undetermined presented in the glossary of terms on page 24. A search query was performed for all deaths due to drowning between 1 July 2010 to 30 June 2011 and the new definitions were applied to generate this report.

Data Sources SLSA collects incident data from our own SurfGuard Incident Report Database (IRD), the NCIS and by monitoring media reports for drowning incidents. The information is verified with the assistance of each state Surf Life Saving centre and compiled for analysis by SLSA’s Lifesaving and Research Departments. The following information is recorded for each drowning incident: state; date; drowning location; GPS coordinates; time; age; gender; incident type; activity information; whether the incident was work related; entered into IRD; IRD number; NCIS case number; whether the case is open/closed; whether the case was reported by the state; the original source of information; drowning location suburb; local government area; postcode; associated SLS club; month; day; season; quarter; victim’s name; address; residence country; residence distance to coastline; residence distance to drowning location; victim’s birth country; nationality; time in Australia; main language; additional activity information; the victim’s experience in the activity; whether the incident was rip current related; detailed description of the incident; details relating to alcohol, drugs, or health conditions; weather conditions; wind conditions; sea conditions/ wave size; wave type; water surface; temperature; tides; location to a lifeguarding service; whether the location was patrolled at the time; personnel who


The following variables are used to match drowning cases 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. Annual drowning rates are calculated using the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) population statistics for each year and individual states. The rates are based on 100,000 members of the population. ABS numbers for the June quarter of each year or the latest data available for the current year is used for calculations.

Verification Process The original drowning data that had been published in SLSA reports from 2004-2010 has been reviewed to ensure the validity of the data. Each case was analysed to ensure that the descriptions as ‘coastal drowning death’, ‘coastal death’, ‘inland drowning death’, ‘ocean drowning death’, and ‘undetermined’ meet both our current definitions and the NCIS information available. Deaths that are reported as ‘unintentional’, ‘unknown intent’ and ‘unlikely to know intent’ are included. Deaths are excluded if they are reported as ‘intentional deaths’, they are inland/ocean locations or drowning is not the primary cause of death. The new list is compared to the original data and any necessary inclusions are made. All details are also matched with the NCIS reports. When incidents on our database were not found on NCIS, we liaised with NCIS personnel for help. Cases with detailed IRD and media reports are investigated and included whether the NCIS case number is found or not.

NCIS cases we can modify undetermined cases, those with unknown intent, and those where the cause of death is not drowning. Details will not be provided in this report if incidents occur where there are less than 5 drownings per state to protect the privacy of the individuals.

What is a coastal drowning death? SLSA defines a coastal drowning death as a fatality arising from the process of respiratory impairment from submersion/immersion in the foreshore, seabed, coastal water, and air space above a large body of water (harbour/bay/inlet), including areas up to 2NM offshore and of which the landward boundary is the line of mean high water, except that 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 5. These unambiguous coastal/inland boundaries have been adopted from New Zealand’s Resource Management Amendment Act 1991 (NZ Ministry for the Environment, 1991).

Methodology 2011 National Coastal Safety Report

first sighted the incident; first rescued; other services involved; and resuscitation details.

Changes from previous reports Activity categories have been changed to include beach activities, separate diving and snorkelling, and to specify rock fishing incidents. The verification process has modified previously reported totals as illustrated below:

Changes in the number of coastal drowning deaths per year as reported in 2010 Table 1 2010 NCSR

2011 NCSR

2004-05

-

92

2005-06

96

103

Limitations

2006-07

78

103

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 51 coastal drowning deaths reported remain open cases. Once closure occurs to

2007-08

88

92

2008-09

94

91

2009-10

82

84

We look forward to continuing our verification processes in the future to ensure the most correct data is being reported.

Suggested Citation Surf Life Saving Australia (2011) National Coastal Safety Report 2011. 5


1.2

25

43.3%

1.0

20

0.8

3.5% 12.8%

15 0.6 10 0.4

Coastal drowning

5

Disaster incident

0.2

Coastal death

21.3%

0

Ocean drowning

NSW

Undetermined

QLD

VIC

WA

TAS

NT

SA

0.0

Figure 1

Figure 2

There were 61 coastal drowning deaths, 30 disaster incident deaths, 18 coastal deaths, five ocean drowning deaths and 27 undetermined deaths in 2010-11. The disaster incident deaths are a result of the Christmas Island incident described on page 22. Please refer to page 24 for definitions.

Of the 61 coastal drowning deaths, 22 (36%) occurred in NSW, 12 (20%) in QLD, 11 (18%) in VIC, nine (15%) in WA, five (8%) in TAS, two (3%) in SA, and none in NT. The national crude drowning rate is 0.27 per 100,000 population.

120

0.6

100

0.5

80

0.4

60

0.3

40

0.2

20

0.1

Rate (per 100,000 pop.)

Coastal drowning deaths by state (n=61)

Number (n)

National fatality summary (n=141)

0

Coastal drowning deaths Average coastal drowning deaths Crude drowning rate Average drowning rate

0.0 2004-05

2005-06

2006-07

2007-08

2008-09

2009-10

2010-11

Seven year trend of coastal drowning deaths Figure 3

Both the number and rates of coastal drowning deaths have continued to decrease this year. The average rate of coastal drowning deaths from 2004-07 is 0.48, the current three year average rate is 0.36. This is a 25% reduction in the average rate of coastal drowning deaths.

6

Rate (per 100,000 pop.)

19.1%

Number (n)

National Overview 2011 National Coastal Safety Report

COASTAL DROWNING DEATHS IN 2010-11 NATIONAL


0.45

14

0.40 0.35

12

Swimming/Wading Boating Rock Fishing Watercraft

0.15

Attempting Rescue

4

Diving

2

0.05

0

0.00

w n

9

9

un

kn o

-8 80

9 -6

9

-7 70

60

9

-5

9

9

-4

50

40

-3 30

Unknown

9

09

Snorkelling

0.10

-2

Rock/Cliff Related

27.9%

0.20

6

-1

9.8%

0.25

8

20

8.2%

0.30

10

10

6.6%

National Overview 2011 National Coastal Safety Report

16

Rate (per 100,000 pop.)

31.1%

Number (n)

6.6% 3.3% 3.3% 3.3%

Coastal drowning deaths by activity (n=61)

Coastal drowning deaths by age group (n=61)

Figure 4

Figure 5

The majority of coastal drowning deaths occurred when an individual was participating in swimming or wading (19), boating (17), or rock fishing (6).

The age groups representing the highest rates of fatalities are 60-69 and 20-29 (0.42), 70-79 (0.40), and 30-39 (0.38).

50

40 NSW Percentage

QLD 30

VIC WA SA

20

TAS NT ROT

10

0 2004-05

2005-06

2006-07

2007-08

2008-09

2009-10

2010-11

Percentage of coastal drowning deaths by state Figure 6

The total number of coastal drowning deaths from 2004-11 are illustrated with the percentage attributed to each state/territory annually.

7


0.18 Swimming/Wading

0.16 Rate (per 100,000 pop.)

National Overview 2011 National Coastal Safety Report

0.20

Boating

0.14

Rock Fishing

0.12

Attempting Rescue Rock/Cliff Related

0.10

Watercraft

0.08

Diving

0.06

Snorkelling

0.04

Unknown Other

0.02 0 2004-05

2005-06

2006-07

2007-08

2008-09

2009-10

2010-11

Coastal drowning deaths by activity – 2004-05 to 2010-11 Figure 7

The rates of activity types being undertaken when coastal drowning deaths occur varies over time. Swimming and wading activity has decreased from a rate of 0.19 in 2004-05 to 0.08 in 2010-11, while deaths associated with boating activity has steadily increased over the last four years.

14

20

12 10 Percentage

Percentage

15

10

8 6 4

5

2

12:01am - 1am 1:01am - 2am 2:01am - 3am 3:01am - 4am 4:01am - 5am 5:01am - 6am 6:01am - 7am 7:01am - 8am 8:01am - 9am 9:01am - 10am 10:01am - 11am 11:01am - 12pm 12:01pm - 1pm 1:01pm - 2pm 2:01pm - 3pm 3:01pm - 4pm 4:01pm - 5pm 5:01pm - 6pm 6:01pm - 7pm 7:01pm - 8pm 8:01pm - 9pm 9:01pm - 10pm 10:01pm - 11pm 11:01pm - 12am

0

8

ril

ay Ju ne

M

Ap

Au

Ju ly g Se us t pt em be r O ct ob No e ve r m b De e ce r m be Ja r nu a Fe ry br ua ry M ar ch

0

Coastal drowning deaths by month (n=61)

Coastal drowning deaths by time (n=61)

Figure 8

Figure 9

The highest percentages of coastal drowning deaths occur in the summer months of December, 12 (19.7%), and January, 11 (18.0%). 36 (59%) occur outside of the summer months.

18 (29.5%) of coastal drowning incidents occurred between 3pm and 6pm, with eight (13.1%) occurring between 3pm-4pm.


13.1%

8.2%

47.5%

13.1%

Beach

36.1%

24.6%

Offshore

Less than 10km

Rock/Cliff

10km to 50km

Bay

19.7%

3.3%

Greater than 50km

27.9%

Marina/Jetty

National Overview 2011 National Coastal Safety Report

1.6% 4.9%

International

Unknown

Unknown

Location of coastal drowning deaths (n=61)

Distance from residence to drowning location (n=61)

Figure 10

Figure 11

29 of coastal drowning deaths occurred at a beach location.

22 of individuals live less than 10km from the drowning location.

14.8%

18% 49.2%

85.2%

32.8%

Greater than 5km

Male

Less than 1km

Female

1km to 5km

Coastal drowning deaths by gender (n=61) Figure 12

Male individuals represent 52 of the coastal drowning deaths.

Distance from drowning location to lifesaving service (n=61) Figure 13

30 individuals drowned greater than five kilometres from the nearest lifesaving service.

9


New South Wales 2011 National Coastal Safety Report

COASTAL DROWNING DEATHS IN 2010-11 NEW SOUTH WALES

9.1%

51.2%

30.2%

40.9%

4.5% 13.6%

Swimming/Wading

2.3%

Rock Fishing

13.6%

Coastal drowning

Boating Watercraft

Coastal death

16.3%

Ocean drowning

18.2%

Attempting Rescue Unknown

Undetermined

New South Wales fatality summary (n=43)

Coastal drowning deaths by activity (n=22)

Figure 14

Figure 15

There were 22 coastal drowning deaths, seven coastal deaths, one ocean drowning death, and 13 undetermined deaths in NSW in 2010-11. This represents 36.1% of the national coastal drowning death total. Please refer to page 24 for definitions.

The majority of coastal drowning deaths in NSW occurred when an individual was participating in swimming or wading (9), rock fishing (4), or boating (3).

0.26 0.24 0.22

Swimming/Wading

Rate (per 100,000 pop.)

0.2

Boating

0.18

Rock Fishing

0.16

Attempting Rescue

0.14

Rock/Cliff Related

0.12

Watercraft

0.1

Diving

0.08

Snorkelling

0.06

Unknown

0.04

Other

0.02 0 2004-05

2005-06

2006-07

2007-08

2008-09

2009-10

2010-11

Coastal drowning deaths by activity – 2004-05 to 2010-11 Figure 16

The rates of activity types being undertaken when coastal drowning deaths occur varies over time in NSW. The swimming and wading activity rate in 2010-11 is 0.12 which is 40% below the seven year average rate of 0.20.

10


4.5% 4.5% 0.6

15 0.4 10 0.2

5

Rate (per 100,000 pop.)

Percentage

20

13.6%

54.5%

Beach Rock/Cliff

22.7%

Offshore

w n

9

Bay

kn o

9

-8

9

-7

Marina/Jetty

un

80

70

9

-6

9

-5

60

50

9

-4 40

9 -2

-3 30

-1 10

20

9

0.0

09

0

New South Wales 2011 National Coastal Safety Report

0.8

25

Coastal drowning deaths by age group (n=22)

Coastal drowning deaths by location (n=22)

Figure 17

Figure 18

The 20-29 year old and 50-59 year old categories attributed the highest number of coastal drowning deaths (5) in NSW, while the 70-79 year old category had the highest rate per 100,000 population (0.70).

The majority of coastal drowning deaths in NSW occurred at a beach location (12), a rocky coast/cliff (5) or offshore (3).

9.1%

18.2%

4.5% 36.4%

63.6%

22.7%

Less than 10km

18.2%

10km to 50km

27.3%

Greater than 50km

Less than 1km

International

1km to 5km

Unknown

Greater than 5km

Distance from residence to drowning location (n=22)

Distance from drowning location to lifesaving services (n=22)

Figure 19

Figure 20

The majority of individuals who drowned in NSW resided less than 10km from the drowning location (8).

14 individuals drowned less than one kilometre from the nearest lifesaving service.

11


Queensland 2011 National Coastal Safety Report

COASTAL DROWNING DEATHS IN 2010-11 QUEENSLAND

8.3% 40%

50%

8.3%

40%

8.3%

8.3%

Boating Swimming/Wading

Coastal drowning

6.7%

Rock Fishing

16.7%

Coastal death

13.3%

Attempting Rescue

Ocean drowning

Diving

Undetermined

Snorkelling

Queensland fatality summary (n=30)

Coastal drowning deaths by activity (n=12)

Figure 21

Figure 22

There were 12 coastal drowning deaths, four coastal deaths, two ocean drowning deaths, and 12 undetermined deaths in Queensland in 2010-11. This represents 19.7% of the national coastal drowning death total. Please refer to page 24 for definitions.

The majority of coastal drowning deaths in Queensland occurred when an individual was participating in boating (6) or swimming or wading (2).

0.26 0.24 0.22

Swimming/Wading

Rate (per 100,000 pop.)

0.2

Boating

0.18

Rock Fishing

0.16

Attempting Rescue

0.14

Rock/Cliff Related

0.12

Watercraft

0.1

Diving

0.08

Snorkelling

0.06

Unknown

0.04

Other

0.02 0 2004-05

2005-06

2006-07

2007-08

2008-09

2009-10

2010-11

Coastal drowning deaths by activity – 2004-05 to 2010-11 Figure 23

The rates of activity types being undertaken when drowning deaths occur varies over time in Queensland. The swimming and wading activity rate in 2010-11 is 0.04 which is 66% below the seven year average rate of 0.12. The 2010-11 boating rate (0.13) is 1.8 times the seven year average rate of 0.07.

12


0.8

8.3%

0.7 30

0.6 0.5

20

0.4 0.3

10

0.2

Rate (per 100,000 pop.)

Percentage

Queensland 2011 National Coastal Safety Report

40

41.7%

16.7%

Offshore

0.1 0

33.3%

9

Bay

-8

9 -7

9

Beach Marina/Jetty

80

70

9

-6 60

9

-5 50

9

-4

-3

40

9

9

-2

30

20

-1 10

09

0.0

Coastal drowning deaths by age group (n=12)

Coastal drowning deaths by location (n=12)

Figure 24

Figure 25

The 20-29 year old and 30-39 year old categories attributed the highest number of coastal drowning deaths with 4 each, with the 30-39 year old category having the highest rate per 100,000 population with 0.63.

The majority of coastal drowning deaths in Queensland occurred offshore (5), at a beach (4) or in a bay (2).

16.7%

25%

33.3%

50%

25% Less than 10km

25%

10km to 50km

25%

Greater than 5km

International

Less than 1km

Greater than 50km

1km to 5km

Distance from residence to drowning location (n=12)

Distance from drowning location to lifesaving services (n=12)

Figure 26

Figure 27

The majority of individuals who drowned in Queensland resided less than 10km from the drowning location (4).

Six individuals drowned greater than five kilometres from the nearest lifesaving service.

13


Western Australia 2011 National Coastal Safety Report

COASTAL DROWNING DEATHS IN 2010-11 WESTERN AUSTRALIA

11.1%

13.3% 60%

55.6%

11.1%

11.1% 26.7%

Swimming/Wading Boating

11.1%

Coastal drowning

Rock Fishing

Coastal death

Diving

Ocean drowning

Snorkelling

Coastal drowning deaths by activity (n=9)

Figure 28

Figure 29

There were nine coastal drowning deaths, four coastal deaths, and two ocean drowning deaths in Western Australia in 2010-11. This represents 14.8% of the national coastal drowning death total. Please refer to page 24 for definitions.

The majority of coastal drowning deaths in Western Australia occurred when an individual was swimming or wading (5).

Rate (per 100,000 pop.)

Western Australia fatality summary (n=15)

0.36 0.34 0.32 0.3 0.28 0.26 0.24 0.22 0.2 0.18 0.16 0.14 0.12 0.1 0.08 0.06 0.04 0.02 0

Swimming/Wading Boating Rock Fishing Attempting Rescue Rock/Cliff Related Watercraft Diving Snorkelling Unknown Other

2004-05

2005-06

2006-07

2007-08

2008-09

2009-10

2010-11

Coastal drowning deaths by activity – 2004-05 to 2010-11 Figure 30

The activity trends in Western Australia illustrate an increase in the rate of swimming/wading coastal drowning deaths to 0.22 which is 1.4 times the seven year average of 0.16. Boating coastal drowning deaths have decreased to a rate of 0.04, 60% less than the seven year average of 0.10.

14


1.4

11.1%

1.0 30

0.8 0.6

20

0.4

Rate (per 100,000 pop.)

1.2

40

Percentage

Western Australia 2011 National Coastal Safety Report

50

77.8%

11.1%

10 0.2 0

Beach

-8 9

Coastal drowning deaths by age group (n=9) Figure 31

The 30-39 year old category attributed the most coastal drowning deaths in Western Australia (4), and also had the highest rate per 100,000 population (1.22).

11.1%

Offshore Rock/Cliff

80

-7 9 70

-6 9 60

-5 9 50

-4 9

-2 9

-3 9

40

30

20

-1 9 10

09

0.0

Coastal drowning deaths by location (n=9) Figure 32

The majority of coastal drowning deaths in Western Australia occurred at a beach location (7).

33.3%

55.6%

66.7%

11.1%

22.2% 10km to 50km Greater than 50km Less than 10km

Greater than 5km

International

1km to 5km

Distance from residence to drowning location (n=9)

Distance from drowning location to lifesaving services (n=9)

Figure 33

Figure 34

The majority of individuals who drowned in Western Australia resided between 10km and 50km from the drowning location (5).

Six individuals drowned greater than five kilometres from the nearest lifesaving service.

15


South Australia 2011 National Coastal Safety Report

COASTAL DROWNING DEATHS IN 2010-11 SOUTH AUSTRALIA Due to the low number of coastal drowning deaths in South Australia further details will not be published to protect the privacy of these individuals.

66.7%

33.3%

Coastal drowning Coastal death

South Australia fatality summary (n=3) Figure 35

Rate (per 100,000 pop.)

There were two coastal drowning deaths and one coastal death in South Australia in 2010-11. This represents 3.3% of the national coastal drowning death total. Please refer to page 24 for definitions.

0.4 0.38 0.36 0.34 0.32 0.3 0.28 0.26 0.24 0.22 0.2 0.18 0.16 0.14 0.12 0.1 0.08 0.06 0.04 0.02 0

Swimming/Wading Boating Rock Fishing Attempting Rescue Rock/Cliff Related Watercraft Diving Snorkelling Unknown Other

2004-05

2005-06

2006-07

2007-08

2008-09

2009-10

2010-11

Coastal drowning deaths by activity – 2004-05 to 2010-11 Figure 36

The only coastal drowning deaths in SA in 2010-11 were associated with activities on a rocky coast or cliff, these are two of the four deaths associated with this activity type in the last seven years. The seven year average rates for swimming/wading and boating are 0.18 and 0.10 respectively.

16


Rip currents remain one of the primary causes of coastal drowning deaths in Australia. During 2010-11, 42% of swimming or wading coastal drowning deaths (19) were attributed to rip currents (8).

0.16 0.14

Rate (per 100,000 pop.)

0.12 Average

0.1 0.08 0.06

Rip current related coastal drowning deaths accounted for 19.7% of total coastal drowning deaths nationally in 2010-11, less than the seven year average of 23.1%.

0.04 0.02 0

2004-05 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10 2010-11

Rate of rip current-related coastal drowning deaths 2004-05 to 2010-11 Figure 37

Drowning deaths are recorded as rip related when there is a witness record describing the victim being swept away by a strong current. This methodology results in the actual number of rip current events being under reported.

CASE STUDY BOATING

Rate (per 100,000 pop.)

0.08

The 2010-11 rate of coastal drowning deaths relating to rip currents, as indicated in figure 37, is 0.05 per 100,000 population which is 50% below the seven year average rate of 0.10. In comparison, the total coastal drowning rate of 0.27 in 2010-11 represents a 36% reduction from the seven year average rate of 0.42.

In 2010-11 there were 17 coastal drowning deaths attributed to boating-related incidents. This represents 27.9% of total coastal drowning deaths, second only to swimming or wading activities.

0.10

Average

The rate of coastal drowning deaths related to boating has been increasing over the last four years, in contrast to the national coastal drowning death rate. The rate of boating-related coastal drowning deaths in 2010-11, as indicated in figure 38, was 0.08, significantly greater than the 2007-08 rate of 0.04 per 100,000 population. This is a 14% increase over the seven year average rate of 0.07.

0.06

0.04

0.02

0

In 2010-11 there were a total of 12 coastal drowning deaths attributed to rip currents, the three additional incidents occurred during attempting rescue (3) and watercraft (1) activities. This represents a reduction from the 2009-10 figure of 20, and the seven year average of 21.

Case Studies 2011 National Coastal Safety Report

CASE STUDY RIP CURRENTS

2004-05 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10 2010-11

Rate of boating-related coastal drowning deaths 2004-05 to 2010-11 Figure 38

17


Victoria 2011 National Coastal Safety Report

COASTAL DROWNING DEATHS IN 2010-11 VICTORIA

100%

9.1%

45.5%

9.1%

18.2% Boating Swimming/Wading

18.2%

Watercraft Attempting Rescue Unknown

Coastal Drowning

Coastal drowning deaths by activity (n=11)

Figure 39

Figure 40

There were 11 coastal drowning deaths in Victoria in 2010-11. This represents 18% of the national coastal drowning death total. Please refer to page 24 for definitions.

The majority of coastal drowning deaths in Victoria occurred when an individual was participating in boating (5), swimming or wading (2), or using non powered watercraft (2).

Rate (per 100,000 pop.)

Victoria fatality summary (n=11)

0.16 0.15 0.14 0.13 0.12 0.11 0.1 0.09 0.08 0.07 0.06 0.05 0.04 0.03 0.02 0.01 0

Swimming/Wading Boating Rock Fishing Attempting Rescue Rock/Cliff Related Watercraft Diving Snorkelling Unknown Other

2004-05

2005-06

2006-07

2007-08

2008-09

2009-10

2010-11

Coastal drowning deaths by activity – 2004-05 to 2010-11 Figure 41

The rates of activity types being undertaken when coastal drowning deaths occur varies over time in Victoria. The swimming and wading activity rate in 2010-11 is 0.04 which is 50% below the seven year average rate of 0.08 while boating trend has continued to increase over the last three years to a rate of 0.09 which is 1.8 times the seven year average rate of 0.05.

18


25

0.6 0.5

Percentage

20

0.4 15 0.3 10

0.2

9.1% 9.1%

Victoria 2011 National Coastal Safety Report

0.7

Rate (per 100,000 pop.)

30

36.4%

18.2% Beach Bay Offshore

27.3%

80 -8 9

70 -7 9

60 -6 9

50 -5 9

40 -4 9

30 -3 9

0.0

20 -2 9

0

10 -1 9

0.1

09

5

Marina/Jetty Unknown

Coastal drowning deaths by age group (n=11)

Coastal drowning deaths by location (n=11)

Figure 42

Figure 43

The 40-49 year old age category attributed the most coastal drowning deaths in Victoria (3), while the 70-79 year age group had the highest rate per 100,000 population (0.62).

The majority of coastal drowning deaths in Victoria occurred at a beach location (4), a bay (3) or offshore (2).

18.2%

9.1%

45.5% 18.2%

36.4%

72.7%

Less than 10km

Greater than 5km

Greater than 50km

Less than 1km

10km to 50km

1km to 5km

Distance from residence to drowning location (n=11)

Distance from drowning location to lifesaving services (n=11)

Figure 44

Figure 45

The majority of individuals who drowned in Victoria resided less than 10km from the drowning location (5).

Eight individuals drowned greater than five kilometres from the nearest lifesaving service.

19


Tasmania 2011 National Coastal Safety Report

COASTAL DROWNING DEATHS IN 2010-11 TASMANIA

20%

25%

40%

62.5%

12.5%

20% Boating

Coastal drowning

20%

Coastal death Undetermined

Swimming/Wading Attempting Rescue Unknown

Tasmania fatality summary (n=8)

Coastal drowning deaths by activity (n=5)

Figure 46

Figure 47

There were five coastal drowning deaths, one coastal death, and two undetermined deaths in Tasmania in 2010-11. This represents 8.2% of the national coastal drowning death total. Please refer to page 24 for definitions.

The majority of coastal drowning deaths (2) in Tasmania occurred when an individual was participating in boating.

1.2

Rate (per 100,000 pop.)

1.1 1.0

Swimming/Wading

0.9

Boating Rock Fishing

0.8

Attempting Rescue

0.7

Rock/Cliff Related

0.6

Watercraft

0.5

Diving

0.4

Snorkelling

0.3

Unknown

0.2

Other

0.1 0.0 2004-05

2005-06

2006-07

2007-08

2008-09

2009-10

2010-11

Coastal drowning deaths by activity – 2004-05 to 2010-11 Figure 48

Rates of swimming/wading are above and boating rates are below the seven year average rates in Tasmania. The coastal drowning death rate during swimming or wading activities in 2010-11 is 0.20, above the seven year average of 0.17 and boating rates are 0.39, less than the seven year average rate of 0.43.

20


4.0

40

3.5

35

2.5

25 2.0

20

1.5

15

Beach Bay

-8 9

Coastal drowning deaths by age group (n=5) Figure 49

The 20-29 year old category and the 60-69 year old category attributed the most coastal drowning deaths in Tasmania (2), with the 60-69 year old category had the highest rate per 100,000 population (3.53).

20%

40%

Offshore

80

-7 9 70

-6 9 60

-5 9 50

40

30

20

10

-4 9

0.0 -3 9

0 -2 9

0.5

-1 9

5

09

10

1.0

40%

Rate (per 100,000 pop.)

30 Percentage

20%

3.0

Tasmania 2011 National Coastal Safety Report

45

Coastal drowning deaths by location (n=5) Figure 50

The majority of coastal drowning deaths in Tasmania occurred at a beach (2) or bay (2) location.

20%

80%

80%

Less than 10km

Greater than 5km

10km to 50km

Less than 1km

Distance from residence to drowning location (n=5)

Distance from drowning location to lifesaving services (n=5)

Figure 51

Figure 52

The majority of individuals who drowned in Tasmania resided less than 10km from the drowning location (4).

Four individuals drowned greater than five kilometres from the nearest lifesaving service.

21


Rate (per 100,000 pop.)

Northern Territory and Remote Offshore Territories 2011 National Coastal Safety Report

COASTAL DROWNING DEATHS IN 2010-11 NORTHERN TERRITORY 1.6 1.5 1.4 1.3 1.2 1.1 1 0.9 0.8 0.7 0.6 0.5 0.4 0.3 0.2 0.1 0

Swimming/Wading Boating Rock Fishing Attempting Rescue Rock/Cliff Related Watercraft Diving Snorkelling Unknown Other

2004-05

2005-06

2006-07

2007-08

2008-09

2009-10

2010-11

Coastal drowning deaths by activity – 2004-05 to 2010-11 Figure 53

There were no coastal drowning deaths in the Northern Territory in 2010-11. The highest seven year average rates are associated with boating activities (0.20). The Northern Territory has the lowest average rate for swimming or wading deaths (0.06) of all states.

COASTAL DROWNING DEATHS IN 2010-11 REMOTE OFFSHORE TERRITORIES Remote offshore territories incident summary Table 2 Body not found – missing person

20

Undetermined disaster incident deaths

30

Total

50*

*All incidents are related to the refugee boat crash on Christmas Island

Geoscience Australia recognises the following locations as Remote Offshore Territories (ROTs): Christmas Island, Cocos (Keeling) Islands, Coral Sea Islands, Norfolk Island, Heard Island and McDonald Islands, and the Australian Antarctic Territories. Coastal Drowning Deaths in ROTs will be listed in their own separate category in this, and future issues of the National Coastal Safety Report. Media reports describe a refugee boat crash on Christmas Island, 5 December 2010, that resulted in up to 50 deaths. This is classified as a disaster incident because ten or more people were suddenly killed. Please see the definition on page 24. There are only 20 of these cases closed within the NCIS at the time of this publication. All of these cases have been closed with a cause of death (COD) as “Body not found-missing person”. We don’t include these as drowning deaths. We will describe the other possible 30 individuals as ‘undetermined’ until coroner reports are produced. We will update this data in future reports as we will with other open cases that do not have a COD listed. 22


0.6

100

0.5

80

0.4

60

0.3

40

0.2

20

0.1

0

Coastal drowning deaths Average coastal drowning deaths Crude drowning rate Average drowning rate

Case Studies 2011 National Coastal Safety Report

120

Rate (per 100,000 pop.)

Number (n)

CASE STUDY 50% DROWNING DEATH REDUCTION BY 2020?

0.0 2004-05

2005-06

2006-07

2007-08

2008-09

2009-10

Seven year trend of coastal drowning deaths Figure 54

The Australian Water Safety Council (AWSC) launched the Australian Water Safety Strategy in October 2008. This strategy includes an aim to achieve a 50% reduction in drowning deaths by the year 2020 (AWSC, 2008).

2010-11

to 2006-07. The average rate of coastal drowning deaths during the same period was 0.48 per 100,000 population. The last three years (2008-09 to 2010-11) have been analysed resulting in a current average rate of 0.36. This is a 25% reduction in the rate of coastal drowning deaths. SLSA strives to continue this trend to meet and hopefully surpass the goal of a 50% reduction by 2020.

The AWSC calculated a baseline average from drowning death data collected from 2004-05

CASE STUDY COASTAL DROWNING DEATHS OF FOREIGN ETHNICITY The number of coastal drowning death victims of a foreign ethnicity has decreased in 2010-11 but still represents a significant proportion of the total drowning toll.

50

Percentage

40

30

20

10

0 2004-05 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10 2010-11

Individuals of foreign ethnicity coastal drowning deaths Figure 55

In 2010-11, 21 coastal drowning victims were of a foreign ethnicity. This represents 34.4% of all coastal drowning deaths this year. The average percentage of coastal drowning deaths has not changed much over time. The baseline three year (2004-07) average is 35.0%, the current three year (2008-11) average is 34.9%. When the last seven years of data are averaged, individuals of foreign ethnicity make up 35.2% of coastal drowning deaths. This over-representation of persons of a foreign ethnicity in our drowning data remains consistent and will continue to be an intervention priority.

23


Glossary of Terms 2011 National Coastal Safety Report

GLOSSARY OF TERMS ALS Australian Lifeguard Service.

Diving Engaging in recreational or commercial SCUBA diving.

Attempting rescue An individual makes an effort to remove someone from a dangerous situation.

Drowning The process of experiencing respiratory impairment from submersion/immersion in liquid.

AWSC Australian Water Safety Council – also Australian Water Safety Conference.

Drowning death A fatality arising from the process of respiratory impairment as a result of submersion/immersion in liquid.

AWSS Australian Water Safety Strategy.

First Aid Immediate or emergency assistance given on the spot to people suffering from illness or injury.

Bay A body of water partially enclosed by land but with a wide mouth, affording access to the sea. Beach An expanse of sand or pebbles along a shoreline. Blackspot An area with a high concentration of coastal/ocean incidents and a high probability/risk of ongoing reoccurrence. Boating Individuals using either a powered vessel or sailing boat for pleasure and/or fishing. Coastal The foreshore, seabed, coastal water, and air space above a large body of water (harbour/bay/inlet), including areas up to 2NM offshore and of which the landward boundary is the line of mean high water, except that 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 5. (Adopted from the Resource Management Amendment Act 1991 - New Zealand) Coastal death A fatality arising from various circumstances (e.g.heart attack, boat collision, fall, shark attack) occurring where the location of the death is coastal. Coastal drowning death Where the location of the drowning is on the coast, in the ocean up to 2NM off-shore or inland up to 5 times the width of the inlet/river. Crude drowning rate The crude drowning rate is a comparative rate of drowning to the size of the population in that area. Disaster incident An exceptional event which suddenly kills 10 or more people; reportedly affects 100 or more individuals; a state of emergency is declared; or there is a call for international assistance (CRED, 2009). This may be a result of a natural disaster such as severe flooding or a tsunami; or a technological disaster such as a mechanised mode of transport accident.

Fishing The act of catching fish. Foreign ethnicity Individuals who identify 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. Hotspot An area with a low/medium concentration of coastal/ ocean incidents combined with a high number of rescues/preventative actions. HRS Helicopter rescue service. ILS International Life Saving Federation. Inland An area that is beyond the line of mean high water or beyond a landward distance of 5 times the width of the coastal inlet/river mouth. Inland death A fatality arising from various circumstances (e.g. heart attack, boat collision, fall, shark attack) occurring where the location of the death is not considered coastal, but occurs in an inland body of water such as a river, lake, creek, or dam. Inland drowning death A fatality arising from the impairment of respiratory function as a result of immersion in liquid, where the location of the drowning is not considered coastal but occurs in and inland body of water such as a river, lake, creek, or dam. International An individual who is confirmed to reside oversees and/or is a temporary visitor to Australia. IRB Inflatable rescue boat. JRB Jet rescue boat. Lake An inland body of water surrounded by land.

24


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

River A natural stream of water flowing into an ocean or bay. RWC Rescue water craft - sometimes called a personal water craft.

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

Rock fishing death A fatality arising from various circumstances occurring (e.g. wave motion, loss of footing) where the victim was participating in fishing activities on a rocky coast immediately prior to or during the incident.

Marina/jetty A boat basin offering dockage and other service for small craft, or a pier/wharf.

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

NCIS National Coroners Information System.

Service season & hours Vary between states due to climactic factors, but in the context of this report, the season is for the period July 2010 to June 2011.

Ocean death A fatality arising from various circumstances (e.g. heart attack, boat collision, fall, shark attack) occurring where the location of the death is in the ocean greater than 2NM offshore, but no greater than 12NM. Ocean drowning death Where the location of the drowning is in the ocean greater than 2NM offshore, but no greater than 12NM. Open ocean The seabed, water and air space above the water between 2NM and 12NM (the Australian territorial waters limit) offshore. ORB Offshore rescue boat. Patrolled location A location supervised constantly or periodically by a lifesaving service. Prevention Where intervention by a lifesaving resource averts a person/s from getting into a potentially life threatening situation. Rescue Where intervention by a lifesaving resource removes a person/s from a life threatening or potentially life threatening situation. Resuscitation Preservation or restoration of life by establishing and maintaining a person’s airway, breathing and circulation. RIB Rigid inflatable boat. Rip current A narrow seaward flowing current of water moving through a surf zone (Short,2003). Rock/cliff A rocky shoreline that may or may not have a high steep face.

Glossary of Terms 2011 National Coastal Safety Report

Leisure activity An activity commenced on land such as play, walking, jogging, or cycling.

Snorkelling Swimming with a snorkel and face mask. Support operations Rapid response rescue units, not affiliated to any one surf life saving club. Surfcom SLS radio communications centre which assists in managing the communications of lifesaving operations and data collection. Surf lifesaver Typically a volunteer at a beach or another aquatic environment whose role is to rescue people in danger of drowning or prevent them getting into that situation. Swimming A person who is active while immersed in water. Total service plan An assessment of current and future lifesaving resources, national blackspots, hotspots and trends. Undetermined Cases that are not associated with a closed coroner’s report on NCIS are often left ‘undetermined’ until an official cause of death has been determined. Some examples are cases where bodies have been found washed up on the beach, reports of individuals struggling in coastal environments are made and the bodies are not found, or a suspected heart attack in a coastal environment rather than death due to immersion. These deaths will all be followed up on and the incident category updated once coroner determinations are made accessible. Wading A person who is partially immersed in water while standing. Watercraft A piece of non powered recreational equipment used in the water which is not a boat. Examples include surfboards, boogie boards, and windsurfers.

Rock/cliff related An activity besides fishing that is performed on a rocky shoreline or off a groyne.

25


An understanding of why people drown is significant when developing drowning prevention strategies. Four key factors have been identified that may lead to accidental drowning, known as the ‘Drowning Chain’. Any of these factors alone, or a combination, could lead to death by drowning (George, 2011).

Drowning chain and drowning prevention strategies Table 3

Drowning Chain

Drowning Prevention Strategies

Lack of knowledge, disregard or misjudgement of a hazard

Education and information

Uninformed, unprotected or unrestricted access to a hazard

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

Lack of supervision or surveillance

Provision of supervision

Inability to cope once in difficulty

Acquisition of survival skills

AS S

EN SM ES

ON SI VI E ER NC RP LLA I

T

ES IC

TO

PR O OF MOT SU E RV TH IV

S SE ILL E A SK L

LA CK OR OF S U SU RV E

RI SK

SU IN RV CR IV A

RI SK

AS S

SM ES

L

AV EXT IN G

T EN

N TIO ISI QU LS C L I A E SK AL

REDUCE DROWNING IF E S

AS S

PE Y CO ULT TO FIC IF

RO M EN OT VI E RO N

TO LIF PR ES OM AV O IN T G

IN ON AB C ILI E I N TY D

26

TO P

ITY AL ES QU IC E ERV S

TO INC RE PUBL ASE IC E KN DU OW CA L TI ED O N

LITY QUA GH ESS OU REN R A TH AW E G ND A

T EN

ED U IN CA FO

SM ES

D AN TE RM

AS PR S AN OVI D DE DE W NY

S NG NI ESS AR CC A

IS K

SK

EN SM S E

TED RIC ST RD RE AZA UN E H H

UN INF AC ORM CE E SS D O TO R T RI

TIC UA AQ FE NTS SA M E

L AC OR M K OF ISU KN ND O W ER ST LED AN G D R

FOR RD ZARD A EG H A SR THE I D F E, G O IN T

D RV EN SE

Why do people drown? 2011 National Coastal Safety Report

WHY DO PEOPLE DROWN?


Australian Water Safety Council (2008). Australian Water Safety Strategy 2008-2011. Retrieved from http://www.watersafety.com.au/Portals/0/Strategy/Australian%20Water%20Safety%20Strategy%20 2008-11.pdf on 05/09/2011

References 2011 National Coastal Safety Report

REFERENCES

Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters- CRED (2009) Explanatory Notes: Criteria and Definition. Retrieved from http://www.emdat.be/criteria-and-definition on 05/09/2011 George, P. (2011) Drowning Prevention Strategies 2011. World Conference on Drowning Prevention. International Life Saving Federation, Danang. New Zealand, Ministry for the Environment (1991) Resource Management Act 1991. Retrieved from http://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/1991/0069/latest/DLM230265. html?search=ts_act_Resource+Management+Act_resel&p=1&sr=1 on 05/09/2011 Short, A. D. (2003) Australia beach systems - the morphodynamics of wave through tide-dominated beach-dune systems. Journal of Coastal Research SI 35, 7-20.

With thanks Surf Life Saving Australia wishes to thank the following people and organisations for their contribution to the 2011 National Coastal Safety Report: The Australian Government, principally the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet; SLSA partners, including DHL, Telstra and Westpac; Surf Life Saving state centres, branches, clubs and support operations; SLSA’s Research Department, Dr. Shauna Sherker, Barbara Brighton and the SLSA Research Advisory Committee; Royal Life Saving Society Australia; National Coroners Information System personnel. 27


Surf Life Saving receives valuable 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 the Surf Life Saving Foundation: www.sls.com.au

For more information Surf Life Saving Australia www.sls.com.au Surf Life Saving New South Wales www.surflifesaving.com.au Surf Life Saving Northern Territory www.lifesavingnt.com.au Surf Life Saving Queensland www.lifesaving.com.au Surf Life Saving South Australia www.surfrescue.com.au Surf Life Saving Tasmania www.slst.asn.au Life Saving Victoria www.lifesavingvictoria.com.au Surf Life Saving Western Australia www.mybeach.com.au

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National Coastal Safety Report 2011  

National Coastal Safety Report 2011