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Surf Life Saving Australia

2013 National Coastal Safety report A summary of coastal drowning deaths in Australia


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Contents

Introduction. . .................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................. 4 Coastal Drowning Deaths 2012-13: National Overview.. ................................................................................................................................................................................ 5 Case Study: Contributing Factors to Swimming and Wading Coastal Drowning Deaths. . ...................................................................................... 6 Case Study: Boating Related Coastal Drowning Deaths, 2004-2013............................................................................................................................................. 8 Queensland................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................... 10 New South Wales.................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................... 12 Victoria.. .............................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................. 14 South Australia.. ......................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................... 16 Western Australia................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................... 18 Case Study: Analysis of Non-Powered Watercraft Incidents, 2004-13..................................................................................................................................... 20 Tasmania........................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................... 21 Case Study: Rocky Coast Drowning Deaths 2004-13................................................................................................................................................................................... 22 Northern Territory................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................ 23 Case Study: Age comparison 20-34 years vs. 55-69 years..................................................................................................................................................................... 24 Glossary.. .......................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................... 25 Why do people drown?.. .................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................. 27 Methodology.............................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................. 28 References..................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................... 30


2012-13 National Drowning Snapshot

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2012-13 National Drowning Snapshot

OVERALL ƒƒ 121 coastal drowning deaths; greater than the nine year average of 95 ƒƒ 0.53 coastal drowning death rate per 100,000 pop; greater than the nine year average rate of 0.44 per 100,000 pop.

DEMOGRAPHICS ƒƒ 105 (87%) were males ƒƒ 40 (33%) were aged between 55-69 years ƒƒ Individuals 65-69 had the highest drowning rate of 1.37 per 100,000 population ƒƒ 4 4 (36%) were known to be of a foreign ethnicity ƒƒ 9 (7%) were international visitors

TIME ƒƒ 30 (25%) occurred between 2pm -5pm ƒƒ 77 (64%) occurred outside of the summer months

ACTIVITY ƒƒ 30 (25%) were swimming/wading ƒƒ 18 (15%) were boating ƒƒ 17 (14%) were rock fishing ƒƒ 14 (12%) were using watercraft

CONTRIBUTORY FACTORS ƒƒ 18 (15%) were attributed to rip currents ƒƒ 24 (20%) were attributed to a medical condition or injury ƒƒ 7 (6%) were attributed to alcohol and/or drug toxicity

LOCATION ƒƒ 64 (53%) occurred at a beach ƒƒ 34 (28%) of individuals lived more than 50km from the drowning location ƒƒ 56 (46%) of individuals drowned less than 1km from the nearest lifesaving service

STATE/TERRITORY ƒƒ States where there has been a decrease in coastal drowning rates include NSW, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania and Northern Territory ƒƒ States where there has been an increase in coastal drowning rates include Victoria and Western Australia


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Introduction

Australians and international visitors are increasingly drawn to our coastlines. With an estimated 100 million visitations each year the task of ensuring the safety of everyone who visits Australia’s 11,912 beaches and 36,000km of coastline is an extremely challenging one and one that Surf Life Saving has been dedicated to for over 100 years.

Every life lost is one too many. We are committed to achieving the goal outlined in the Australian Water Safety Strategy 2012-2015: to reduce drowning deaths by 50 per cent by 2020. This is an ambitious undertaking, but one that is achievable through a strong, collaborative and evidence-based approach. I commend this report to you as part of that process.

As a peak body representing water safety, drowning prevention and rescue authority, Surf Life Saving Australia (SLSA) aims to create great Australians and build better communities, while playing that vital role of saving lives. SLSA’s 2012-13 National Coastal Safety Report contains analysis of cases on coastal drowning deaths for the period of 1 July 2012 to 30 June 2013. The report examines the factors that contribute to drowning deaths in Australia by examining who, where, when and how people have drowned on Australian coasts over the last year. Surf Life Saving Australia has produced a National Coastal Drowning Report every year since 2004. The National Coastal Safety Report assists and supports evidence-based decision making on coastal drowning prevention programs, and allocation of scarce resources to strategic high risk interventions. There are many challenges facing Surf Life Saving Australia and reducing coastal drowning includes the increasing challenges of population and tourism growth, and climate change. This report helps shape our planning to meet some of these challenges. Despite the extensive network of services deployed nationally to reduce the coastal drowning toll including volunteer surf life savers, Australian Lifeguard Service (ALS) and council employed lifeguards, rescue helicopters, rescue boats, surveillance systems, radio control and coordination centres, community education and coastal safety risk assessments, coastal drownings are still at unacceptable levels.

Greg Nance Chief Executive Officer Surf Life Saving Australia

The 2013 key case studies include: • Watercraft –revealing a high percentage of surfing related drownings • Contributing factors – emphasis on reduction in rip current related drownings • Recreational Boating – consistently the second highest coastal drowning activity • Rocky Coasts – showcasing the number of people drowning around rocky coasts and emphasising the need for further research as part of our ARC Linkage Grant Project. • Age Cohort Analysis – 55-69 years compared to 20-34 years. There has been a spike in 55-69 year old drownings.


National Overview

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National Overview Coastal Drowning Deaths

0.6

150 No COD listed COD listed

90

115

89

95

121

98

0.5

0.4 89

89

85 72

0.3

60 0.2 30

Rate (per 100,000 pop.)

Number (n)

120

0.1

0

0.0 2004-05

2005-06

2006-07

2007-08

2008-09

2009-10

2010-11

2011-12

2012-13

Figure 1

2004-13: Nine year trend of national coastal drowning deaths National coastal drowning death numbers and crude drowning rates 2004-13. The nine year average rate per 100,000 population is 0.44 and number is 95, the rate for 2012-13 is 0.53 and number is 121.

0.20

Rate (per 100,000 pop.)

0.15

0.10

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

0.05

0.00 2004-05

2005-06

2006-07

2007-08

2008-09

2009-10

2010-11

2011-12

2012-13

Figure 2

2004-13: Nine year coastal drowning deaths by activity The rates of activity types being undertaken when coastal drowning deaths occur varies over time. The swimming and wading rate of drowning is less than the nine year average (0.13 vs. 0.14 average rate per 100,000 pop.) Activities where the rate is equal to the nine year average include: diving (0.02 rate per 100,000 pop.), snorkelling (0.02 rate per 100,000 pop.), and rock/cliff related (0.01 rate per 100,000 pop.). Activities where rate of drowning is greater than the nine year average include: boating (0.08 vs. 0.07 average rate per 100,000 pop.), rock fishing (0.07 vs. 0.06 average rate per 100,000 pop.), watercraft (0.06 vs. 0.03 average rate per 100,000 pop.), attempting a rescue (0.05 vs. 0.02 average rate per 100,000 pop.), and other activities (0.03 vs. 0.01 average rate per 100,000 pop.). Other activities include paragliding, fishing from pier, and falls.


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Case Study Contributing Factors to Swimming and Wading Coastal Drowning Deaths 0.20 0.18 0.16 0.14 Rate (per 100,000 pop.)

6

0.12 0.10 0.08 0.06 0.04

Swimming/Wading 9 year ave. (Swimming/Wading) Rip current Medical/Injury Alcohol/Drug Toxicity

0.02 0.00 2004-05

2005-06

2006-07

2007-08

2008-09

2009-10

2010-11

2011-12

2012-13

Figure 3 Known Contributing Factors to Swimming and Wading Related Coastal Drowning Deaths, 2004-2013 This past year there have been 30 fatalities related to swimming and wading activities (24.8%). These are consistently the most common activities undertaken at the time of coastal drowning death. The rate of these deaths has seen a general decrease over time, as illustrated in Fig 3. The 2012-13 year is the fifth consecutive year that the rates have been below the nine year average rate of 0.14 per 100,000 population (dotted line). A nine year analysis of the factors that have contributed to these events has been performed. Three known contributing factors for swimming and wading coastal drowning deaths are ‘being caught in a rip current’, an occurrence of a ‘medical event or injury’, or the presence of ‘alcohol and/or drugs’. Thirty-six of the swimming and wading incidents (13%) do not have a contributing factor associated with it, the majority of these (n=22) were within the 2011-12 and 2012-13 years. This number of cases with unknown information is expected to decrease as coronial reports are closed and become electronically available. The 2012-13 rates of the following contributing factors are less than their nine-year average rates: rip currents (0.04 vs. 0.07 average rate per 100,000 pop.), medical and/or injury (0.03 vs. 0.04 average rate per 100,000 pop.), and alcohol and/or drug toxicity (0.01 vs. 0.03 average rate per 100,000 pop.). While the total number of swimming and wading related coastal drowning deaths has decreased this year, the number of incidents attributed to medical/injury related issues has increased since last year. An analysis of all coastal drowning deaths revealed that at least 30% of all incidents had a medical condition (such as a cardiac event) or an injury (such as a head injury) associated with the drowning.


National Overview

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National Overview Coastal Drowning Deaths

50

Crude Drowning Rate Per 100,000

1.0

10.7%

Coastal Drowning Deaths 0.8

30

0.6

20

0.4

10

Rate (per 100,000 pop.)

Number (n)

40

5% 2.5% 3.3%

24.8%

3.3% 9.9% 14.9%

0.2

11.6% 0

NSW

WA

Vic

Qld

SA

Tas

NT

14%

0.0

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

Figure 4

Figure 5

2012-13: Coastal drowning deaths by state (n=121)

2012-13: Coastal Drowning Deaths by Activity (n=121)

Of the 121 coastal drowning deaths, 48 (40%) occurred in NSW, 24 (20%) in WA, 23 (19%) in Vic, 14 (12%) in Qld, six (5%) in SA, four (3%) in Tas, and two (2%) in NT.

The majority of coastal drowning deaths occurred when an individual was participating in swimming or wading (30, 24.8%), boating (18, 14.9%), rock fishing (17, 14.0%), or using watercraft (14, 11.6%).

Females Males

1.7%

1.4

12

1.2

10

1.0

8

0.8

6

0.6

4

0.4

2

0.2

0

0.0

8.3%

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+ unknown

Number (n)

14

1.6

Rate (per 100,000 pop.)

16

18.2%

52.9%

19%

Age Group (Years)

Beach Rock/Cliff Offshore Bay Marina/Jetty

Figure 6

Figure 7

2012-13: Coastal drowning deaths by age group and sex (n=121)

2012-13: Location of coastal drowning deaths (n=121)

The age groups representing the highest rates of fatalities are 65-69 years (1.4 per 100,000 pop.), 60-64 years (1.1 per 100,000 pop.), and 55-59 years (0.9 per 100,000 pop.). 105 fatalities (87%) were male.

64 coastal drowning deaths (52.9%)occurred at a beach location; this is an increase over last year’s beach located drownings (n=53).


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Case Study Boating Related Coastal Drowning Deaths, 2004-2013 (n=138)

2.9% 10.9% 23.9%

12.3%

19.6%

13.8%

16.7%

New South Wales Queensland Victoria Tasmania South Australia Western Australia Northern Territory

Figure 8 Boating Related Coastal Drowning Deaths, 2004-2013 (n=138) There were 138 boating related coastal drowning deaths in Australia from 2004-2013 (nine years). This is an average of 15 boating related fatalities per year and a national average rate of 0.07 per 100,000 population. In 2012-13 there were 18 boating related fatalities at a rate of 0.08 per 100,000 population. Boating has consistently been the second leading activity associated with coastal drowning deaths after swimming and wading activities. Fatal boating activity varies in the states and territory. NSW, Qld, and Vic combined make up 60% of the boating fatalities since 2004. One of the recommended countermeasures to boating related fatalities is the use of personal flotation devices (PFDs). Currently PFD legislation is state based and varies according to each state. Surf Life Saving Australia collaborates with the Australian New Zealand Safe Boating Education Group (ANZSBEG) to develop educational interventions to increase the wear rate of lifejackets. Representing the key stakeholders in recreational boating safety across Australia and New Zealand, ANZSBEG is an excellent example of cross jurisdictional collaboration establishing consistency in educational key messages such as the International Lifejacket Principles initiative.


National Overview

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National Overview

16

14

14

12

12

10

Percentage (%)

10 8 6

8 6 4

4

2

2

0 June

May

April

March

February

January

December

November

October

September

August

July

0

12:01am-1 am 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

Percentage (%)

Coastal Drowning Deaths

Figure 9

Figure 10

2012-13: Coastal Drowning Deaths by Month (n=121)

2012-13: Coastal drowning deaths by time (n=92*)

The highest percentage of coastal drowning occurred in the months of December (14.9%) and March (14.0%). 77 (64%) occurred outside of the summer months, especially in November and March. Shading denotes season.

There are currently 92 coastal drowning deaths (76%) with known times. Most of these fatalities occurred between 9:01am and 10:00am (10, 11% ) and between 2:01pm and 5pm (30, 25%), shaded. * Only incidents with known times are represented.

14.9%

16.5% 28.1% 7.4% 46.3%

38.8%

21.5% 26.4%

Less than 1km Greater than 5km 1km to 5km

Greater than 50km Less than 10km 10km-50km International Unknown

Figure 11

Figure 12

2012-13: Distance from drowning location to lifesaving service (n=121)

2012-13: Distance from residence to drowning location (n=121)

56 individuals (46.3%) drowned less than one kilometre from the nearest lifesaving service. 38 of these incidents (67.9%) occurred at unpatrolled times. No coastal drowning deaths occurred between the red and yellow flags.

34 individuals (28.1%) lived greater than 50 kilometres from the drowning location. Nine coastal drowning deaths (7.4%) involved international tourists.


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Queensland Coastal Drowning Deaths

30

0.6

Number (n)

20

0.4 19

18

15

17

0.3

16 14

10

11

7.1%

0.5

26

0.2

12

7.1% Rate (per 100,000 pop.)

25

42.9%

21.4%

9 5

0.1

0

Swimming/Wading Watercraft Boating Snorkelling Rock/Cliff Related

21.4%

0.0 04-05 05-06 06-07 07-08 08-09 09-10 10-11 11-12 12-13

Figure 13

Figure 14

2004-13: Nine year trend of Qld coastal drowning deaths

2012-13: Coastal drowning deaths by activity (n=14)

In 2012-13 there were 14 coastal drowning deaths or a rate of 0.30 deaths per 100,000 pop. in Queensland (Qld). From 2004-13 there has been an average number of 16 coastal drowning deaths, this is a nine year average rate of 0.36 per 100,000 population.

The majority of coastal drowning deaths in Qld occurred when an individual was participating in swimming and wading (6, 42.9%), using watercraft (3, 21.4%), or boating (3, 21.4%) activities.

0.25

Rate (per 100,000 pop.)

0.20

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

0.10

0.05

0.00 2004-05

2005-06

2006-07

2007-08

2008-09

2009-10

2010-11

2011-12

2012-13

Figure 15

2004-13: Coastal drowning deaths by activity The rates of activity types being undertaken when coastal drowning deaths occur varies over time in Qld. In 2012-13 there were 14 coastal drowning deaths. Activities where the rate is less than the nine year average include boating (0.06 vs. 0.07 average rate per 100,000 pop.) and snorkelling (0.02 vs. 0.05 average rate per 100,000 pop.). Swimming and wading incident rates are equal to the nine year average rate (0.13 rate per 100,000 pop.). Activities that have a rate greater than the nine year average are watercraft (0.06 vs. 0.04 average rate per 100,000 pop.) and rock/cliff related incidents (0.02 vs. 0.002 average rate per 100,000 pop.).


Queensland

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Queensland Coastal Drowning Deaths

4

1.4

7.1%

Number (n)

1.0 0.8

2 0.6 0.4

1

Rate (per 100,000 pop.)

1.2 3

35.7% 57.1%

0.2 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+ unknown

0

Beach Offshore Rock/Cliff

Age Group (Years)

Figure 16

Figure 17

2012-13: Coastal drowning deaths by age group and sex (n=14)

2012-13: Location of coastal drowning deaths (n=14)

The age groups representing the highest rates of coastal drowning deaths are 60-64 years (1.22 per 100,000 pop.) and 65-69 years (0.97 per 100,000 pop.). 13 coastal drowning deaths (93%) were male.

Eight coastal drowning deaths (57.1%) occurred at a beach location.

14.3% 28.6%

42.9%

50% 35.7% 21.4% 7.1%

International Greater than 50km Less than 10km Unknown

Less than 1km Greater than 5km 1km-5km

Figure 18

Figure 19

2012-13: Distance from residence to drowning location (n=14)

2012-13: Distance from drowning location to lifesaving service (n=14)

Four individuals (28.6%) who drowned in Qld lived in an international location.

Seven individuals (50.0%) drowned less than one kilometre from the nearest lifesaving service.


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New South Wales Coastal Drowning Deaths

60

0.7

50

0.6 0.5

45

40 Number (n)

48

39 35

30

40

0.4

35 0.3

29 20

23

0.2

10

Rate (per 100,000 pop.)

22.9% 48

0

14.6% 4.2% 4.2% 6.3% 16.7% 8.3%

0.1

04-05 05-06 06-07 07-08 08-09 09-10 10-11 11-12 12-13

10.4%

12.5%

0.0

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

Figure 20

Figure 21

2004-13: Nine year trend of NSW coastal drowning deaths

2012-13: Coastal drowning deaths by activity (n=48)

In 2012-13 there were 48 coastal drowning deaths or a rate of 0.65 per 100,000 pop. in New South Wales (NSW). From 2004-13 there has been an average number of 38 coastal drowning deaths, this is a nine year average rate of 0.54 per 100,000 population.

The majority of coastal drowning deaths in NSW occurred when an individual was participating in swimming and wading (11, 22.9%), rock fishing (8, 16.7%), boating (6, 12.5%), or using watercraft (5, 10.4%).

0.25

Rate (per 100,000 pop.)

0.20

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

0.10

0.05

0.00 2004-05

2005-06

2006-07

2007-08

2008-09

2009-10

2010-11

2011-12

2012-13

Figure 22

2004-13: Coastal drowning deaths by activity The rates of activity types being undertaken when coastal drowning deaths occur varies over time in NSW. In 2012-13 there were 48 coastal drowning deaths. Activities where the rate is less than the nine year average include swimming and wading (0.15 vs. 0.18 average rate per 100,000 pop.) and diving (0.00 vs. 0.01 average rate per 100,000 pop.). Activities where the rate is equal to the nine year average rate are rock fishing (0.11 rate per 100,000 pop.) and attempting a rescue (0.03 rate per 100,000 pop.). Activities where rate of drowning is greater than the nine year average include: boating (0.08 vs. 0.05 average rate per 100,000 pop.), watercraft (0.07 vs. 0.04 average rate per 100,000 pop.), rock/cliff related incidents (0.04 vs. 0.01 average rate per 100,000 pop.), and snorkelling (0.05 vs. 0.01 average rate per 100,000 pop.).


New South Wales

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New South Wales Coastal Drowning Deaths

1.8

9

1.6

8

1.4

Number (n)

7

1.2

6

1.0

5

0.8

4

0.6

3

12.5% 50%

25% Beach Rock/Cliff Offshore Bay

85+

80-84

70-74

75-79

65-69

55-59

60-64

45-49

50-54

35-39

40-44

25-29

30-34

15-19

20-24

0.0 5-9

0.2

0 10-14

1 0-4

2

0.4

12.5% Rate (per 100,000 pop.)

10

Age Group (Years)

Figure 23

Figure 24

2012-13: Coastal drowning deaths by age group and sex (n=48)

2012-13: Location of coastal drowning deaths (n=48)

The age groups representing the highest rates of coastal drowning deaths are 25-29 years (1.71 per 100,000 pop.) and 60-64 years (1.51 per 100,000 pop.). 40 coastal drowning deaths (83%) were male.

24 coastal drowning deaths (50.0%) occurred at a beach location.

6.3% 16.7%

29.2% 43.8%

33.3%

41.7%

10km-50km Less than 10km Greater than 50km International

29.2%

Less than 1km 1km-5km Greater than 5km

Figure 25

Figure 26

2012-13: Distance from residence to drowning location (n=48)

2012-13: Distance from drowning location to lifesaving service (n=48)

21 individuals (43.8%) who drowned in NSW lived between 10 and 50 kilometres from the drowning location. There were three known coastal drowning deaths (6.3%) involving international visitors.

20 individuals (41.7%) drowned less than one kilometre from the nearest lifesaving service.


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Victoria Coastal Drowning Deaths

25

0.45 0.40

23 20

17

15 14

0.25

15

10

11

11

0.20

12 10

0.15

10

Rate (per 100,000 pop.)

0.30 Number (n)

17.4%

0.35

26.1%

13% 4.3%

0.10

5

8.7%

0.05 0

04-05 05-06 06-07 07-08 08-09 09-10 10-11 11-12 12-13

17.4% 13%

0.00

Swimming/Wading Boating Diving Attempting a Rescue Snorkelling Other Unknown

Figure 27

Figure 28

2004-13: Nine year trend of Vic coastal drowning deaths

2012-13: Coastal drowning deaths by activity (n=23)

In 2012-13 there were 23 coastal drowning deaths or a rate of 0.40 per 100,000 pop. in Victoria (Vic). From 2004-13 there has been an average number of 14 coastal drowning deaths, this is a nine year average rate of 0.25 per 100,000 population.

The majority of coastal drowning deaths in Vic occurred when an individual was participating in swimming and wading (6, 26.1%), boating (4, 17.4%), or diving (3, 13.0%).

0.15

Rate (per 100,000 pop.)

0.12

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

0.06

0.03

0.00 2004-05

2005-06

2006-07

2007-08

2008-09

2009-10

2010-11

2011-12

2012-13

Figure 29

2004-13: Coastal drowning deaths by activity The rates of activity types being undertaken when coastal drowning deaths occur varies over time in Vic. In 2012-13 there were 23 coastal drowning deaths. Activities where the rate is greater than the nine year average include: swimming and wading (0.10 vs. 0.08 average rate per 100,000 pop.), boating (0.07 vs. 0.05 average rate per 100,000 pop.), diving (0.05 vs. 0.01 average rate per 100,000 pop.), snorkelling (0.02 vs. 0.006 average rate per 100,000 pop.), and attempting a rescue (0.04 vs. 0.01 average rate per 100,000 pop.). There were no deaths due to watercraft use, rock fishing, or other rock/cliff related activities this year.


Victoria

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Victoria

10

1.5

8

1.2

6

0.9

4

0.6

2

0.3

4.3% Rate (per 100,000 pop.)

Number (n)

Coastal Drowning Deaths

17.4%

56.5% 21.7%

0

Beach Offshore Bay Marina/Jetty

85+

80-84

70-74

75-79

65-69

55-59

60-64

45-49

50-54

35-39

40-44

25-29

30-34

15-19

20-24

5-9

10-14

0-4

0.0

Age Group (Years)

Figure 31

Figure 32

2012-13: Coastal drowning deaths by age group and sex (n=23)

2012-13: Location of coastal drowning deaths (n=23)

The age groups representing the highest rates of coastal drowning deaths are 60-64 years (1.35 per 100,000 pop.) and 65-69 years (1.20 per 100,000 pop.). 19 coastal drowning deaths (83%) were male.

13 coastal drowning deaths (56.5%) occurred at a beach location.

8.7% 21.7% 17.4% 43.5%

21.7%

13%

73.9%

Greater than 50km Less than 10km 10km-50km Unknown

Less than 1km Greater than 5km 1km-5km

Figure 33

Figure 34

2012-13: Distance from residence to drowning location (n=23)

2012-13: Distance from drowning location to lifesaving service (n=23)

Five individuals (21.7%) lived greater than 50 kilometres and five individuals (21.7%) lived less than 10 kilometres from the drowning location. No known individuals were international residents.

17 individuals (73.9%) drowned less than one kilometre from the nearest lifesaving service.


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South Australia Coastal Drowning Deaths

0.9

14

0.8

13

12

16.7%

11

10 Number (n)

0.6 9

8

9

0.5 0.4

7

6

6

0.3

4

50% 33.3%

0.2

4 3

2

0.1

2 0

Rate (per 100,000 pop.)

0.7

04-05 05-06 06-07 07-08 08-09 09-10 10-11 11-12 12-13

Swimming/Wading Boating Other

0.0

Figure 35

Figure 36

2004-13: Nine year trend of SA coastal drowning deaths

2012-13: Coastal drowning deaths by activity (n=6)

In 2012-13 there were six coastal drowning deaths or a rate of 0.36 per 100,000 pop. in South Australia (SA). From 2004-13 there has been an average number of seven coastal drowning deaths, this is a nine year average rate of 0.44 per 100,000 population.

The majority of coastal drowning deaths in SA occurred when an individual was participating in swimming and wading (3, 50.0%) or boating (2, 33.3%).

0.40 0.35

Rate (per 100,000 pop.)

0.30 0.25 Swimming/Wading Boating Watercraft Diving Rock/Cliff Related Attempting a Rescue Snorkelling Rock Fishing Other Unknown

0.20 0.15 0.10 0.05 0.00 2004-05

2005-06

2006-07

2007-08

2008-09

2009-10

2010-11

2011-12

2012-13

Figure 37

2004-13: Coastal drowning deaths by activity The rates of activity types being undertaken when coastal drowning deaths occur varies over time in SA. In 2012-13 there were six coastal drowning deaths. The rate of swimming and wading deaths is greater than the nine year average (0.18 vs. 0.16 average rate per 100,000 pop.). Boating deaths are equal to the nine year average rate (0.12 rate per 100,000 pop.). There were no deaths due to watercraft, diving, rock/cliff related, attempting a rescue, snorkelling, or rock fishing activities this year.


South Australia

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South Australia Coastal Drowning Deaths

3.0

2.0

1

1.0

Number (n)

2

16.7%

Rate (per 100,000 pop.)

3

50% 33.3%

85+

80-84

70-74

75-79

65-69

55-59

60-64

45-49

50-54

35-39

40-44

25-29

30-34

15-19

20-24

5-9

10-14

0.0 0-4

0

Beach Offshore Marina/Jetty

Age Group (Years)

Figure 38

Figure 39

2012-13: Coastal drowning deaths by age group and sex (n=6)

2012-13: Location of coastal drowning deaths (n=6)

The age groups representing the highest rates of coastal drowning deaths are 80-84 years and 85+ years (2.53 per 100,000 pop.) Six coastal drowning deaths (100%) were male.

Three coastal drowning deaths (50.0%) occurred at a beach location.

16.7%

50%

16.7%

50%

66.7% Less than 10km Greater than 50km 10km-50km

Less than 1km Greater than 5km

Figure 40

Figure 41

2012-13: Distance from residence to drowning location (n=6)

2012-13: Distance from drowning location to lifesaving service (n=6)

Four individuals (66.7%) lived less than 10 kilometres from the drowning location. No known individuals were international residents.

Three individuals (50.0%) drowned less than one kilometre and three individuals (50.0%) drowned greater than five kilometres from the nearest lifesaving service.


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Western Australia Coastal Drowning Deaths

25

1.0 24

8.3%

Number (n)

0.8 15 15

15 13

10

12

11

0.6

12 10

8

Rate (per 100,000 pop.)

20

29.2%

16.7%

0.4

20.8%

5

25% 0

04-05 05-06 06-07 07-08 08-09 09-10 10-11 11-12 12-13

0.2

Rock Fishing Snorkelling Watercraft Swimming/Wading Boating

Figure 42

Figure 43

2004-13: Nine year trend of WA coastal drowning deaths

2012-13: Coastal drowning deaths by activity (n=24)

In 2012-13 there were 24 coastal drowning deaths or a rate of 0.96 per 100,000 pop. in Western Australia (WA) . From 2004-13 there has been an average number of 13 coastal drowning deaths, this is an average rate of 0.59 per 100,000 population.

The majority of coastal drowning deaths in WA occurred when an individual was participating in rock fishing (7, 29.2%), snorkelling (6, 25.0%), or using watercraft (5, 20.8%).

0.35 0.30

Rate (per 100,000 pop.)

0.25 0.20 Rock Fishing Snorkelling Watercraft Swimming/Wading Boating Rock/Cliff Related Diving Attempting a Rescue Other Unknown

0.15 0.10 0.05 0.00 2004-05

2005-06

2006-07

2007-08

2008-09

2009-10

2010-11

2011-12

2012-13

Figure 44

2004-13: Coastal drowning deaths by activity The rates of activity types being undertaken when coastal drowning deaths occur varies over time in WA. In 2012-13 there were 24 coastal drowning deaths. Activities where the rate is greater than the nine year average include: rock fishing (0.17 vs. 0.16 average rate per 100,000 pop.), snorkelling (0.12 vs. 0.06 average rate per 100,000 pop.), watercraft (0.16 vs. 0.05 average rate per 100,000 pop.), and boating (0.08 vs. 0.07 average rate per 100,000 pop.). Swimming and wading death rates were equal to the nine year average (0.16 rate per 100,000 pop.) There were no deaths due to rock/cliff related, diving, or attempting a rescue activities this year.


Western Australia

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Western Australia Coastal Drowning Deaths

3.5

5

3.0

12.5%

Number (n)

2.5 3

2.0 1.5

2

1.0

Rate (per 100,000 pop.)

4

29.2% 58.3%

1 0.5

85+

80-84

70-74

75-79

65-69

55-59

60-64

45-49

50-54

35-39

40-44

25-29

30-34

15-19

20-24

5-9

10-14

0.0 0-4

0

Beach Rock/Cliff Offshore

Age Group (Years)

Figure 45

Figure 46

2012-13: Coastal drowning deaths by age group and sex (n=24)

2012-13: Location of coastal drowning deaths (n=24) 14 coastal drowning deaths (58.3%) occurred at a beach location.

The age groups representing the highest rates of coastal drowning deaths are 65-69 years (3.04 per 100,000 pop.) and 55-59 years (2.77 per 100,000 pop.). 21 coastal drowning deaths (88%) were male.

16.7%

20.8%

4.2% 8.3%

12.5%

58.3% Greater than 50km Less than 10km International 10km-50km Unknown

79.2% Greater than 5km Less than 1km

Figure 47

Figure 48

2012-13: Distance from residence to drowning location (n=24)

2012-13: Distance from drowning location to lifesaving service (n=24)

14 individuals (58.3%) lived greater than 50 kilometres from the drowning location. At least two individuals (8.3%) were international residents.

19 individuals (79.2%) drowned greater than five kilometres from the nearest lifesaving service.


/ Surf Life Saving Australia / 2013 National Coastal Safety Report

Case Study Analysis of Non-Powered Watercraft Incidents, 2004-13 16

2.9% 4.3% 1.4% 4.3% 4.3%

14 12

Number (n)

20

10

11.6%

8

50.7%

6 4

20.3%

2 0 04-05 05-06 06-07 07-08 08-09 09-10 10-11

11-12

12-13

Surfboard Bodyboard Kayak Surf Ski Canoe Kite Surfer Inflatable Craft Paddle Board

Figure 49

Figure 50

Non-powered watercraft related coastal drowning in Australia, 2004-2013

Water craft type involved in coastal drowning deaths in Australia from 2004-2013 (n=69)

This year there were 14 coastal drowning deaths related the use of watercraft. SLSA defines watercraft activity as using an item of non-powered recreational equipment in the water. Examples include surfboards, body boards, kayaks, or surf skis. Watercraft incidents are the fourth leading cause (11.6%) of Australian coastal drowning deaths in 2012-13. This is the fifth consecutive year that the rate of watercraft related drowning deaths has increased. The 2012-13 rate is 0.06 per 100,000 pop., double the nine-year average rate of 0.03 per 100,000 pop. The most common type of watercraft implicated during coastal drowning death incidents over the last nine years are surfboards (n=35, 50.7%). There are often other contributing factors associated with these incidents such as being caught in a rip current or the occurrence of a medical condition or injury. This analysis highlights the importance of strategic interventions to engage surfers such as the Surfer Rescue 24/7 education project in NSW and the Big Wave Surfing Safety Training Program in Tasmania.


Tasmania

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Tasmania Coastal Drowning Deaths

8

1.6 8

7

1.4

6

1.2

Number (n)

5

1.0 5

5

5

5

4

0.8 4

3

0.6 3

2

Rate (per 100,000 pop.)

8

0.4 2

1

0.2

0

0.0 2004-05

2005-06

2006-07

2007-08

2008-09

2009-10

2010-11

2011-12

2012-13

Figure 51

2004-13: Nine year trend of Tas coastal drowning deaths There has been an average of five coastal drowning deaths per year in Tasmania (Tas) from 2004-13. This is an average rate of 0.98 per 100,000 population. In 2012-13 there were four coastal drowning deaths in Tas. Further analysis of the 2012-13 coastal drowning deaths in Tasmania will not be published because there were less than five fatalities this past year.


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Case Study Rocky Coast Drowning Deaths 2004-13

1.3% 5.7% 1.9% 1.3% 1.9% 5.1%

14%

68.8%

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

Figure 52 Activities related to Rocky Coast Drowning Deaths, 2004-13 Rocky coasts have proven to be dangerous locations, second only to beaches in Australia during 2012-13 (see fig 7). There have been twenty-three drowning deaths (19%) along rock dominated coasts this past year. The vast majority of rocky coasts related drowning deaths from 2004-13 have occurred during rock fishing activity (n= 108, 68.8%). The second most common activity resulting in rocky coast related drowning is ‘rock/cliff related activities other than rock fishing’ (n= 22, 14.0%), which includes rock walking or taking photographs. In addition since 2004, 8 people (5.1%) have drowned on the rocky coast while attempting a rescue of someone who has already been swept into the water. SLSA is currently collaborating with researchers from Melbourne University and the University of Wollongong to assess the dangers of rocky coast platforms and develop a unique risk classification system of these areas. After a successful pilot study, the team has been awarded an Australian Research Council linkage grant to continue the research for three years. The new project will use analysis of airborne and ground-based laser surveying and wave modelling to quantify the risk of people being washed into the sea from rocky coasts. How users perceive waves on rock platforms will also be analysed to determine if risk perception correlates to actual risk. The integrated risk framework developed will provide a completely new and critically needed understanding of hazards on rocky shores.


Northern Territory

/ 23

Northern Territory Coastal Drowning Deaths

7

3.0

6 5 Number (n)

2.0 4 4

1.5

3 1.0 2 2

Rate (per 100,000 pop.)

2.5

6

2 0.5

1 0

1

2004-05

2005-06

0

1

1

2008-09

2009-10

2010-11

0

0.0 2006-07

2007-08

2011-12

2012-13

Figure 53

2004-13: Nine year trend of NT coastal drowning deaths There has been an average of two coastal drowning deaths per year in the Northern Territory (NT) from 2004-13. This is an average rate of 0.82 per 100,000 population. In 2012-13 there were two coastal drowning deaths in NT. Further analysis of the 2012-13 coastal drowning deaths in the Northern Territory will not be published because there were less than five fatalities this past year.


/ Surf Life Saving Australia / 2013 National Coastal Safety Report

Case Study Age comparison 55-69 years vs. 20-34 years 25

70 55-69 years 20-34 years

55-69 years 20-34 years

60

20 Percentage (%)

50 Percentage (%)

15

10

40 30 20

5 10

Unknown

Toxicity

Rip Current

Unknown

Other

Diving

Rock/Cliff Related

Attempting a Rescue

Rock Fishing

Snorkelling

Watercraft

Swimming/Wading

Medical

0

0 Boating

24

Figure 54

Figure 55

Comparison of activities undertaken when coastal drowning deaths occur in individuals aged 55-69 years (n= 40) and 20-34 years (n=33)

Comparison of contributing factors for coastal drowning death in individuals aged 55-69 years (n= 40) and 20-34 years (n=33)

The age groups most represented in this year’s coastal drowning deaths are 55-69 year olds (n=40, 33%) and 20-34 year olds (n=33, 27%) (see fig 6). These age peaks warranted further comparative analysis. People aged 55-69 years were more likely to drown undertaking boating (22.5%); swimming and wading (20%); watercraft (12.5%); and snorkelling related activities (10%). By contrast, people aged 20-39 years were likely to drown undertaking swimming and wading (24.2%); watercraft (24.2%); and rock fishing related activities (21.2%) (Fig 54). The contributing factor in the drowning incident was mostly unknown in more than half of cases. However, where contributing factors were known, medical related incidents were most common for the older age group (32.5%) and rip currents were most common for the younger age group (27.3%) (fig 55). Positive toxicity to illicit drugs and/or alcohol was found in only one case for each age group. As the reflection of the drowning activity people in the older age group were more likely to drown at the beach (60.0%) or offshore (25.0%). By contrast, younger people were more likely to drown at the beach (48.5%) or at a rocks/cliff location (30.3%). These findings reinforce the need to focus prevention specifically to those age groups at high risk of drowning and also highlight the need to target specific age groups with specific prevention messages.


Glossary

/ 25

Glossary

ALS - Australian Lifeguard Service. Attempting rescue - An individual who makes an effort to remove someone from a dangerous situation. 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 - 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 1993-New Zealand). Coastal death - A fatality arising from various circumstances occurring (e.g. heart attack, boat collision, fall, shark attack) where the location of the death is coastal. COD - Cause of Death. 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. Diving - Engaging in recreational or commercial SCUBA diving. Drowning - The process of experiencing respiratory impairment from submersion/immersion in liquid.

Drowning death - A fatality arising from the process of respiratory impairment as a result of submersion/immersion in liquid. First Aid - Immediate or emergency assistance given on the spot to people suffering from illness or injury. 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. Leisure Activity - An activity commenced on land such as play, walking, jogging, or cycling. 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. Lifesaving service - A service which exists to provide aquatic safety services to the public.


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Glossary

Marina/jetty - A boat basin offering dockage and other service for small craft, or a pier/wharf. NCIS - National Coronial Information System. Ocean death - A fatality arising from various circumstances occurring (e.g. heart attack, boat collision, fall, shark attack) 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. Other - An uncommon known activity not otherwise listed (e.g. paragliding, aircraft crash, fall from pier).

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

Patrolled location - A location supervised constantly or periodically by a lifesaving service.

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.

Prevention - Where intervention by a lifesaving resource averts a person/s from getting into a potentially life threatening situation.

Swimming - A person who is active while immersed in water.

Rescue - Where intervention by a lifesaving resource removes a person/s from a life threatening or potentially life threatening situation.

Total Service Plan - An assessment of current and future lifesaving resources, national blackspots, hotspots and trends.

Rock/cliff - A rocky shoreline that may or may not have a high steep face.

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/missing persons reports are not made, 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.

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

Wading - A person who is partially immersed in water while standing.

River - A natural stream of water flowing into an ocean or bay.

Watercraft - A piece of non powered recreational equipment used in the water. Examples include surfboards, boogie boards, windsurfers, or kayaks.

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).

RWC - Rescue water craft - sometimes called a personal water craft.


Why do people drown?

/ 27

Why do people drown?

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).

Table 1

Drowning chain and drowning prevention strategies Drowning Chain

Drowning Prevention Strategies

Lack of knowledge, disregard or misjudgment of a hazard

Education and information

Uninformed, unprotected or unrestricted access to a hazard

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

Lack of supervision or surveillance

Provision of supervision

Inability to cope once in difficulty

Acquisition of survival skills

AS S

LA CK OR OF S S U RV U E

RI SK

D RV EN SE

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

L

AV EXT IN G

SU IN R VI CR VA

RI SK

AS S

T EN

N TIO ISI QU LS C IL A E SK AL

REDUCE DROWNING IF E S

SM ES

RO M EN OT VI E RO N

TO LIF PR ES OM AV O IN T G

AS S

PE Y CO ULT TO FIC IF

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 E T 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

TI C 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

OR D F ARD R AZ GA RE HE H S DI F T E, G O IN T

IN ON AB CE ILI I N TY D


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Methodology

The 2012-13 National Coastal Safety Report contains information on all coastal drowning deaths for the period of 1 July 2012 to 30 June 2013. This information is correct as of 6 September 2013. All care is taken to ensure the statistical information included within this report is correct. However, pending the outcome of ongoing coronial investigations, this data may be amended.

Data Sources SLSA collects incident data from our own SurfGuard Incident Report Database (IRD), the National Coroners Information System (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 Research and Lifesaving 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 or not the location was patrolled at the time; personnel who first sighted the incident; first rescued; other services; and resuscitation details. 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.

Verification Process The coastal drowning data that has been published in previous NCSR editions is constantly 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 drowning or drowning/immersion is not a primary cause of death.

The new list is compared to the original workbook and any necessary inclusions are made. All details are also matched with the NCIS reports. When incidents on our workbook are not found on NCIS we liaise with NCIS personnel for help. Cases with detailed IRD and media reports are investigated and included whether personnel can find an NCIS case number or not.

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 73% of 2012-13 coastal drowning deaths reported remain open cases and 30% of cases do not have a cause of death (COD) listed yet. Once a closure occurs to NCIS cases we can modify undetermined cases, those with unknown intent, and those where the cause of death is not drowning. All deaths known to have occurred in coastal waters have been included as coastal drowning deaths, unless the COD is listed as otherwise. Bars of two different colours are used to illustrate the incidents where a COD has not been listed on NCIS. The incidents are included in our annual totals and analysis, they will remain so until the event a COD is listed other than drowning/immersion.

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 2 nautical miles offshore and of which the landward boundary is the line of mean high water, except that where that line crosses a river/inlet. In this case 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 1993.

Changes from previous reports Over years of investigation as part of the NCIS process, some cases are amended prior to their closure and have resulted in changes to our data sets. The new numbers of coastal drowning deaths are different from the annual totals that have been previously reported as cases have closed.


Methodology

Methodology

Table 2

Changes in the number of coastal drowning deaths per year as previously reported 2011 NCSR

2012 NCSR

2013 NCSR

2004-05

92

89

89

2005-06

103

95

95

2006-07

103

98

98

2007-08

92

89

89

2008-09

91

89

89

2009-10

84

83

85

2010-11

61

70

72

2011-12 2012-13

119

115 121

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 (2013) National Coastal Safety Report 2013. SLSA: Sydney.

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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, Vietnam. 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

With thanks

Surf Life Saving Australia wishes to thank the following people and organisations for their contribution to the 2013 National Coastal Safety Report: • The Australian Government, principally the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet • SLSA major national corporate 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, Amy Peden • The Australian Lifeguard Service • Independent Council Lifeguard Services • National Coronial Information System, Jo Cotsonis and Leanne Daking

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2012-13 National Drowning Snapshot OVERALL ƒƒ 121 coastal drowning deaths; greater than the nine year average of 95 ƒƒ 0.53 coastal drowning death rate per 100,000 pop; greater than the nine year average rate of 0.44 per 100,000 pop

DEMOGRAPHICS ƒƒ 105 (87%) were males ƒƒ 40 (33%) were aged between 55-69 years ƒƒ Individuals 65-69 had the highest drowning rate of 1.37 per 100,000 population ƒƒ 4 4 (36%) were known to be of a foreign ethnicity ƒƒ 9 (7%) were international visitors

TIME ƒƒ 30 (25%) occurred between 2pm -5pm ƒƒ 77 (64%) occurred outside of the summer months

CONTRIBUTORY FACTORS ƒƒ 18 (15%) were attributed to rip currents ƒƒ 24 (20%) were attributed to a medical condition or injury ƒƒ 7 (6%) were attributed to alcohol and/or drug toxicity

LOCATION ƒƒ 64 (53%) occurred at a beach ƒƒ 34 (28%) of individuals lived more than 50km from the drowning location ƒƒ 56 (46%) of individuals drowned less than 1km from the nearest lifesaving service

STATE/TERRITORY ƒƒ States where there has been a decrease in coastal drowning rates include NSW, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania and Northern Territory ƒƒ States where there has been an increase in coastal drowning rates include Victoria and Western Australia

ACTIVITY ƒƒ 30 (25%) were swimming/wading ƒƒ 18 (15%) were boating ƒƒ 17 (14%) were rock fishing ƒƒ 14 (12%) were using watercraft

Surf Life Saving 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 the Surf Life Saving Foundation – sls.com.au

For more information Surf Life Saving Australia – sls.com.au

Surf Life Saving South Australia – surfrescue.com.au

Surf Life Saving New South Wales – surflifesaving.com.au

Surf Life Saving Tasmania – slst.asn.au

Surf Life Saving Northern Territory – lifesavingnt.com.au

Life Saving Victoria – lifesavingvictoria.com.au

Surf Life Saving Queensland – lifesaving.com.au

Surf Life Saving Western Australia – surflifesavingwa.com.au

National Coastal Safety Report 2013  
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