Life Savers concerned after rise in drowning deaths

Royal Life Saving is urging Queenslanders to look out for children and the elderly around water with their annual National Drowning report showing they’re most at risk.

The report shows 291 people died from drowning nationally, nine more than last year,  and 73 of these were Queenslanders.

Executive Director of Royal Life Saving Queensland, Michael Darben, said it’s extremely concerning deaths are on the rise.


“It seems we’re just not getting the message through to people … we’ve got some of the strongest pool safety laws across the country,” he said.

“If people aren’t prepared to close the gate, check fencing and supervise their children, these drownings will still occur.”

Children are at high risk of drowning, with 10 per cent of deaths being a child aged up to four.

There’s also been a 38 per cent increase in the number of children under the age of five drowning.

Nearly a quarter of all deaths across the nation involved people aged 65 years and older.

Mr Darben said a number of these deaths were due to people attempting to cross flooded roads.

Overall, rivers were the most dangerous aquatic location and Royal Life Saving Queensland said this is due to lack of supervision.

“Most people’s perception of drowning is at the beach, or at the pool,” Mr Darben said.

“Rivers and other inland waterways are dangerous, usually there’s no one else watching so you need to be prepared.”

They recommend a range of courses to keep families safe around the water, you can view these here.