Western Australians urged to keep watch by the water this summer

12 September 2017
The Royal Lifesaving Society of WA today released sad and sobering statistics showing 42 people drowned in Western Australia in 2016-17, a 17 per cent increase on the 10-year average.
  • 42 drownings in Western Australia in 2016-17 – 17% increase on 10-year average
  • Country areas, inland waterways, boats and watercraft incidents over-represented
  • State Government urges people to make use of water safety programs.

Royal Life Saving National Drowing Report 2017

The Royal Lifesaving Society of WA today released sad and sobering statistics showing 42 people drowned in Western Australia in 2016-17, a 17 per cent increase on the 10-year average.

People in regional and remote areas were nearly four times more likely to drown than people in the city, while fatalities in inland waterways spiked by 23 per cent over the last year.

Sport and Recreation Minister Mick Murray today urged Western Australians to make use of the State Government's water safety programs, keep watch of friends and family in the water, and to not overestimate their abilities.

More than half of all people who drowned in WA were aged 25 to 54, while fatalities involving boats and watercraft increased.

The State Government has been a long-time supporter of the Royal Lifesaving Society of WA's water safety programs, with funding of more than $700,000 for 2015-19.

Comments attributed to Sport and Recreation Minister Mick Murray:

"It is worrying that despite our best intentions and programs we still lost 42 people to drownings in the last 12 months.

"It is a sad and sobering statistic, and shows that we all have more work to do in improving safety around the water.

"We must work as a community to address this year's increase in drownings in inland waterways and the significant over-representation in the regions.

"Everyone should realise that when someone is drowning it often happens silently. That is why keeping a visible watch on children, family and friends is an absolute must.

"Sadly, many drownings occur due to people overestimating their abilities in the water. We should all remember that water can be very unpredictable and even more unforgiving."

Read the report

Royal Life Saving National Drowning Report 2017