Record drowning statics recorded in Victoria

Life Saving Victoria installed a temporary memorial at Sandridge Beach using 61 rescue tubes representing the 61 lives lost the past year. (Supplied)

By Molly Magennis

Life Saving Victoria’s annual Victorian Drowning Report has revealed alarming figures; the highest drowning toll in 20 years.

In total there were 165 total drowning incidents in Victoria in 2020-21, with 61 people losing their lives.

The report found that over a third of drowning deaths in 2020-21 occurred in the summer months. Twenty-six fatal drowning incidents occurred in major cities in Victoria, six more than the 10-year average from 2010-11 to 2019-20.

The most common location where drowning occurred was rivers/creeks/dams and lakes (24 deaths).

Deaths at a beach/bay/ocean were a close second, recording 20 deaths, a 27 per cent increase on the 10-year average of 16.

Beaches in Melbourne’s west, which includes Williamstown and Altona beaches, have recorded 29 drowning deaths from 2010-11 to 2019-20. The likelihood of one or more drowning deaths in any given year is 97 per cent, and the likelihood of one or more residents drowning is 99 per cent, the report revealed.

Life Saving Victoria’s principal research associate and health promotion communications general manager Bernadette Matthews urged the community not to be complacent.

“Our intention in compiling this drowning report is to ensure that part of their legacy lives on to help prevent future drownings in Victorian waters. By examining areas of risk, we can help to inform our safety strategies and hopefully prevent further tragedy moving forward,” Dr Matthews said.

“LSV has been working closely with government, the water safety sector and the aquatic industry to address a number of preventative measures, in a bid to stop people from requiring assistance in the first place.”

“Do not become a memory, please remember that a moment of distraction can lead to a lifetime of heartbreak.”