Drowning in NSW


Drowning in NSW

98 people drowned in NSW waterways last year.

The Royal Life Saving National Drowning Report 2018 has revealed that a total of 276 people lost their life to drowning in Australian waterways between July 1 2018 and June 30 2019 and an estimated further 584 hospitalisations resulting from non-fatal drowning incidents. This is a 20% increase on 2017/2018 and a 1% reduction on the 10-year average. 

With NSW having the largest population in Australia, it is no surprise that more drownings occur here than in any other state.  Over the last 10 years alone we have seen more than 1000 drowning deaths in NSW.

Drowning is preventable and Royal Life Saving NSW urges the community to be vigilant at all times when in, on or around water.

Who drowns?

The 45-54 age group recorded the highest number of drowning deaths in New South Wales with 17 deaths this year.

Males consistently drown at a rate four times that of females. Of the 98 who drowned, 79% of these were male. 

Other at-risk population groups include:

  • children 0-4
  • young adults
  • older Australians
  • and culturally and linguistically diverse communities (CALD).

Where do people drown?

Inland water ways including rivers, creeks and streams  continue to be a leading location for drowning in NSW due to the unpredictable nature of these environments. 30 of deaths occurred while swimming and recreating. 

Beaches also claimed 26 lives each year, most commonly away from patrolled areas.

Backyard swimming pools are the leading location for drowning in the 0-4 age group. Drowning in this age group has also occurred in spas, buckets, bath tubs, ponds, water tanks and more.

Other areas including rocks, oceans, harbours and public swimming pools are also high risk drowning locations.

2019 NSW Drowning Overview

Check the link below for more information:

Royal Life Saving National Drowning Report 2019

How can you stay safe?

  • Wear a life jacket
  • Supervise children
  • Learn CPR and First Aid
  • Avoid alcohol
  • Learn life saving skills

Drowning is PREVENTABLE- make sure you are equipped with the knowledge and skills to keep you and your family safe when in, on or around water.

Through various Royal Life Saving initiatives such as Be Pool Safe, Keep Watch, Grey Medallion, Respect the River, Swim Safe Swim Sober and Swim & Survive, Royal Life Saving NSW are striving to reduce drownings.

Learn more about Keep Watch and toddler drowning prevention

Find out more about learning Resuscitation (CPR)