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Victorian drowning report shows worst toll in 20 years

Victorian drowning report shows worst toll in 20 years
December 2, 2019

Victoria has recorded its worst drowning toll in two decades during the 2018/19 financial year with 56 drownings.

Released on Sunday, the Life Saving Victoria report advised that paramedics were called to 101 near-drownings, that men were four times more likely to drown than women, that almost one in five drowning deaths were people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds and those aged 65 and older were also at risk.

Overall there was a 71% increase in deaths last year compared to the 10-year average, with Victoria the only state or territory in Australia to have recorded an increase in drowning deaths over that period.

Expressing her concern at a rise in deaths among people who had not intended to go into the water, Life Saving Victoria Principal Research Associate, Bernadette Matthews told AAP “unintentional entry into water - via slips, trips and falls - was the most common activity just prior to drowning last year, accounting for almost half of all drowning deaths.

“Drowning deaths are entirely preventable and simple safety measures can make all the difference between a great day out and a tragedy.”

Matthews was joined by Victoria’s Emergency Services Minister, Lisa Neville to launch Water Safety Week.

Minister Matthews stated “last year was a tragic year for drownings, and we don’t want to see a repeat of last summer.

“Our lifesaving volunteers do an amazing job but it’s up to everyone to be aware of the dangers.”

Image shows training at Life Saving Victoria’s recent U18 Leadership Development Camp.

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18th November 2019 - 2019 Life Saving Victoria Pool Safety Summit sees launch of State of the Sector report

22nd October 2019 - Life Saving Victoria voices concerns over aquatic centre ramps

16th September 2019 - Rising drowning deaths coincide with record summer temperatures

12th June 2019 - Life Saving Victoria activates new Public Pools Register

22nd May 2019 - Federal Government won’t deliver on APOLA funding plea to reduce drownings

21st April 2019 - Rescuers drown after boat flips in surf off Victoria’s Great Ocean Road

22nd February 2019 - AquaPulse earns Platinum Pool accreditation from Life Saving Victoria

31st January 2019 - Life Saving Victoria helps vulnerable swimmers with new training initiatives

14th January 2019 - Life Saving Victoria urges beachgoers to use technology to stay safe around the water

12th January 2019 - Life Saving Victoria introduces new Safety Endorsement Program for pools

7th December 2018 - Australian Water Safety council addresses drowning among multicultural communities

5th November 2018 - Life Saving Victoria launches Safer Public Pools Code of Practice

12th October 2018 - Life Saving Victoria’s Watch Around Water urges parents to put their down phones when at the pool

19th April 2018 - Royal Life Saving study finds lack of supervision behind child drownings at public facilities


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