While you’re here… help us stay here.

Are you enjoying open access to policy and research published by a broad range of organisations? Please donate today so that we can continue to provide this service.


Royal Life Saving national drowning report 2021

Drowning Recreation Water safety Australia

This report highlights research and analysis of fatal and non-fatal drowning across Australia between 1st July 2020 and 30th June 2021.

This past year has been difficult for so many. The ongoing fear and uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic has left a mark on families, workplaces, and communities. Lockdowns and restrictions have changed our routines and impacted our lifestyles. These changes will contribute to drowning risk over the coming months and potentially, years. Swim school closures and falling learn to swim enrolments may have generational impacts on swimming and lifesaving skills. Restrictions are forcing more Australians to recreate in unfamiliar waterways, often without lifeguard services.

Key findings:

  • Drowning deaths increased by 20% on the previous year.
  • People aged 25 to 34 years accounted for 17% of the total number of deaths, the most of any age group.
  • Rivers remain the leading location for drowning with deaths increasing by 3% compared with the 10-year average.
  • Tragically, deaths among children aged 0-4 years increased by 9% compared with the 10-year average and 108% compared with last year.
Publication Details
License type:
All Rights Reserved
Access Rights Type: