As we present the National Drowning Report for 2022, we remain ever mindful of the people
whose lives have been lost or impacted by drowning, including the many families affected
by the loss or long-term injury of a loved one.
This year’s findings show that:
Drowning deaths increased by 15% compared to the previous year, but 24% compared to the 10-year average
82% of drowning deaths were males
Rivers and creeks were the leading location for drowning (34%), followed by beaches (21%) and ocean/harbour locations (13%)
94 drowning deaths occurred in people aged over 65 years, 34% increase on last year and a 57% increase on the 10-year average. 28% of drowning occurred in people over 65 years
When considering the drowning rates in ACT, NSW and TAS, the figures paint a different picture in each Sate / Territory with differing environments and populations in each region playing a part.
Australian Capitol Territory:
There was 1 drowning death recorded in the ACT over the past 12 months. This is the only region to show a decrease in drownings with the previous period having 4 drownings recorded.
During April and June 2002, Royal Life Saving ACT offered free Infant CPR awareness sessions for new parents and caregivers in the ACT, with a child under 12 months old. Over 80 parents and caregivers have attended the free 90min sessions, focusing on CPR awareness and knowledge specific to infants. Royal Life Saving ACT has partnered with local stakeholders to continue to offer this program free to new ACT parents for the remainder of 2022.
New South Wales:
NSW reported a significant increase in drowning across 2021/22 against previous year, and the ten-year average.
This is the first time drowning in NSW is reported to be over 100 deaths since 2011
This is the highest number of reported drownings in NSW on record (since 2002/03)
NSW did not record the highest % increase, but exceeds all other states by numbers
1 in 10 drowning deaths in NSW were flood-related
The highest impact of flooding deaths is on those over 65 years
Flooding accounts for 11% of the drowning in NSW
Without the NSW floods in February / March 2022, drowning would still be up
1 in 4 drowning deaths in NSW is a person over the age of 65 years
There was a decrease in Child drowning (0-4 years) in NSW, along with a decrease in drowning among primary school age children (5-14 years)
This may be an indication that programs and campaigns targeted to children and their parents may be making an impact and it is important to continue focusing drowning prevention efforts on children Rivers and lakes account for almost 50% but note that flooding impacts on this proportion
Pictured Right: Drowning deaths in NSW by Age, Location, Activity and Season:
Tasmania experienced a 129% increase in drowning on 2020/21 and a 78% increase on the ten-year average.
This is the highest number and rate of drowning deaths in Tasmania in the previous ten years
This is the highest increase in drowning of all States/Territories this year
The biggest impact was among adults aged 25 – 55 years, totaled 38% compared to zero deaths in the age bracket the previous year
No children aged 0-14 years drowned in Tasmania in 2021/22
No children 5-9 years have drowned in Tasmania since 2012/13
No children aged 10-14 years have drowned since 2017/18
This may be an indication that programs and campaigns targeted to children and their parents may be making an impact and it is important to continue focusing drowning prevention efforts on children Half of all drowning deaths were in the ocean/harbour.
Pictured Right: Drowning deaths in TAS by Age, Location, Activity and Season:
Source: National Drowning Report 2021/22 - Royal Life Saving Australia