NATIONAL COA S TAL SAFET Y REPORT 2019 - SURF LIFE SAVING AUSTRALIA

 
NATIONAL COA S TAL SAFET Y REPORT 2019 - SURF LIFE SAVING AUSTRALIA
N ATION AL COA S TAL SAFE T Y RE POR T 2019
         S U R F L I FE S AV I N G AU S T R A L I A
NATIONAL COA S TAL SAFET Y REPORT 2019 - SURF LIFE SAVING AUSTRALIA
DROWNING
                               S N A P S H OT

                 COASTAL &                         MALE
                   OCEAN
                 DROWNING
                  DEATHS
                                                   FEMALE
Location

  AT THE BEACH   ROCK/CLIFF             OFFSHORE    AT LEAST 5KM FROM A
                                                     LIFESAVING SERVICE

Activity

    35%          14%                                 1
    SWIMMING      BOATING &                                   23
                    PWC
                                            15
                                                    13
                                                             44
     8%           7%                                  23
    WATERCRAFT   SNORKELLING
                                                                  3
NATIONAL COA S TAL SAFET Y REPORT 2019 - SURF LIFE SAVING AUSTRALIA
CONTENTS

IN T RO D U C T I O N                     04

S EC TION ONE:
COM MUNIT Y                             06     S EC TION THRE E:
                                               DROWNING A N A LYS IS        34
AUS T R A L I A N P O PU L AT I O N       08   N AT I O N A L OV ERV IE W   36
COA S TA L PA RT I CIPAT I O N            09   D ROWNIN G LO C AT I O N S   42
AC T I V I T Y PA RT I CIPAT I O N        10   D ROWNIN G VS FATA L I T Y   44
S WI M M IN G A B IL I T Y                14   NE W S O U T H WA L E S      50
RI S K PERCEP T I O N                     15   Q U EEN S L A ND             52
COA S TA L S A FE T Y                     16   V I C TO RI A                54
S A FE T Y PR AC T I CE S                 17   WE S T ERN AUS T R A L I A   56
F E AT U R E: YO U N G M A L E S          18   S O U T H AUS T R A L I A    58
F E AT U R E: BYS TA NDER RE S CU E S          TA S M A NI A                60
IN AUS T R A L I A                        20   N O RT HERN T ERRI TO RY     62

S EC TION T WO:
C A PA B ILIT Y                         22
                                               G LOS S A RY                 64
C A PA B IL I T Y                         24   REFEREN CE                   66
S U RF L IFE S AV IN G S ERV I CE S       26
M EM B ER S HIP C A PACI T Y              27
A S S E T C A PA B IL I T Y               28
RE S CU E S                               29
PRE V EN TAT I V E AC T I O N S           30
FIR S T A ID                              31
F E AT U R E: T HE FRE A K WAV E MY T H   32
NATIONAL COA S TAL SAFET Y REPORT 2019 - SURF LIFE SAVING AUSTRALIA
INTRODUCTION

A
          ustralian beaches have long occupied a special place          likely to drown than other adults. On average forty young males
          in Australian culture, with eighty-five per cent of the       drown each year (2004-19).
          population living within 50km of the coast and more than        For other unintentional coastal fatalities boating, swimming
300 million visitations to the coast in the last year. The Australian   and watercraft are the three highest activities undertaken at
coastline is where three of the world’s great oceans meet – the          the time of the fatality over the fifteen-year period, similar to
Pacific, Indian and Southern oceans – each providing a diversity        that of coastal drowning deaths. The 2018-19 period saw
of conditions and experiences to Australians and its visitors. The      swimming, scuba diving and snorkelling deaths above the
beach is a place of significance where people from all over the         fifteen-year average.
world can meet, live and come together.                                   Bystander rescues involve members of the public going to the
  Our interactions with the Australian coastline represent a legacy     aid of those in distress, with these actions increasingly
that is recognised nationally and internationally with Australians      recognised for the significant role in saving lives. Without these
renowned for their affinity with the coast. Most visits to the coast    invaluable actions there is no doubt many other lives would have
are ones of delight and fun, yet over the years too many have           been lost. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for the rescuer to
been peppered with disaster and tragedy.                                become the victim, with fatal bystander rescues on Australian
  Surf Life Saving Australia (SLSA) is one of the nation’s most         beaches between 2004-17 representing four per cent of all
respected organisations and the peak body for coastal water             coastal drowning deaths.
safety and drowning prevention. We are Australia’s largest                Rock fishing has recorded the third highest number of
volunteer organisation, with 176,000 members drawn from all             coastal drowning deaths over the fifteen-year period. Media
age groups and demographics. Membership across 314 clubs is              has often attributed these to unexpected large swell or ‘freak
almost fifty per cent female, with volunteer surf lifesavers            waves’. Research has found that the ‘freak wave’ concept is a
performing more than 10,176 rescues each year and over 1.3              myth and that understanding the wave period is vital. More
million volunteer hours on patrol. In addition, they attend to          experienced fishers have a better understanding of wave
89,695 emergency care treatments and perform more than 1.5              period, which enables them to better manage associated risks,
million preventative actions. With research showing that for            and are encouraged to share their knowledge with less
every dollar invested or donated to Surf Life Saving there is           experienced fishers.
twenty-nine dollars of value returned to the community it is              The National Coastal Safety Report 2019 presents evidence-
undeniable the Surf Life Saving’s dividend to the nation is             based insights into factors relating to drowning deaths and other
immense - and growing.                                                  fatalities, in addition to participation. This information is
  The National Coastal Safety Report 2019 is a comprehensive            invaluable for understanding circumstances around incidents
summary and analysis of our research and presents evidence              and assisting with the development of education and awareness
relating to community perceptions, delivery of core lifesaving          programs, initiatives and actions to reduce fatalities in the future.
services, coastal drowning deaths and other fatal coastal                 I have the pleasure of commending this comprehensive report
incidents. The report continues to focus on coastal drowning            to you and encourage all to support SLSA in its objectives of
deaths, however, the National Coastal Safety Report 2019 delves         reducing injury and the loss of life along our coastline. As has
further into other coastal-related deaths, presenting a                 been stated in the past, the numbers and statistics represented
fifteen-year overview and laying the foundations for future             are much more than this – they represent the loss of life of many
research to encompass all coastal-related fatalities.                   individuals. The loss of 190 lives is not tolerable, nor is the loss of
  The 2018-19 period resulted in 190 recorded coastal fatalities.       one life, our vision is zero preventable deaths in Australian waters.
This includes 122 coastal drowning deaths, the third highest
recorded in the past fifteen years. Of all 190 coastal fatalities,
drowning was recorded as the causal factor in sixty-five per cent
of incidents. For the 2018-19 period the majority of coastal and
ocean drowning deaths occurred while swimming (35%), boating
and PWC (14%) or using watercraft (8%). Swimming, watercraft,
attempting a rescue, falls and snorkelling drowning deaths all
being above the fifteen-year average. Males continue to be              Adam Weir
over-represented in coastal drowning deaths (87%), with young           Chief Executive Officer
males aged 16-39 identified at a greater risk and are twice as          Surf Life Saving Australia

                                  SURF LIFE SAVING AUSTR ALIA       04           NATIONAL COASTAL SAFET Y REPORT 2019
NATIONAL COA S TAL SAFET Y REPORT 2019 - SURF LIFE SAVING AUSTRALIA
T O TA L S E R V I C E P L A N

T
         he Total Service Plan is SLSA’s national drowning                                                Context
         reduction strategy and service plan. It is created using                                    Drowning Statistics
                                                                                                  Non-fatal Drowning Data
         an iterative process of analysis and review to identify                                    Operational Statistics
coastal safety issues of national importance. This approach                                            Market Research
                                                                                                       Population Data
follows the public health model and is consistent with                                          Participation/Behaviour Data
international risk management principles.
  In collaboration with stakeholders, SLSA identifies
coastal safety risks using incident monitoring,                                     Coastal Safety Hub            Risk Assessment
coastal risk assessments and participation analysis.
                                                                                                 Risk Identification
This information is analysed to identify the top                                       Incident Tracking         National Risk Register
national coastal safety issues, priorities and                                       Capability Statement       Coastal Risk Assessments
                                                                                    Participation/Behaviour
blackspot areas that require intervention or                                                Analysis
mitigation strategies.
                                                      Communication                                                                                        Monitoring
                                                     and Consultation                                     Analysis                                       and Evaluation
THE NATIONAL SAFETY AGENDA                        Market Research                    Coastal Safety Briefs      Critical Incident Analysis                Monitor Trends
  The issues and blackspots identified        Stakeholder Consultation               Trend Identification         Target Identification             Monitor and Evaluate Service/
                                                Councils, Committees                    GIS Analysis                  Case Studies                       Asset Deployment
through the Total Service Plan                      and Groups                                                                                        Evaluate Pilot Programs
process form the basis of SLSA’s                  Conferences and                                                                                        Evaluate Research
                                                      Forums
National Safety Agenda. The agenda
                                                                                                         Evaluation
influences lifesaving operations,                                                      National Coastal         National Safety Agenda
including services and equipment allocation.                                             Safety Report             National Coastal
                                                                                      Strategic Research             Safety Issues
It drives public education, including evidence-based                                        Agenda              Blackspot Identification
mitigation strategies, communications campaigns
and pilot projects, and informs SLSA’s research plan.
  The Total Service Plan takes a risk management                                            Treatment/Intervention
                                                                                               Lifesaving and Support Services
approach. It allows SLSA to use the evidence to ensure we                                       Blackspot Reduction Program
locate lifesaving services and assets in areas of need and have                                 Beach Safety Equipment Fund
                                                                                                 Communication Campaigns
appropriate public education programs and mitigation strategies                                 Public Education and Training
to address the coastal safety issues and known blackspots.                                          Early Warning Systems
Embedded in the process is continual monitoring and evaluation
to ensure the treatments and interventions are effective in
reducing drowning deaths along the Australian coast.                             Figure 1
  The coastal safety needs of the Australian community                           TOTAL SERVICE PLAN PROCESS OVERVIEW
reflected in the National Safety Agenda and the Surf Life Saving                 The Total Service Plan aligns with the International
movement’s capacity and capability to meet these needs                           Standard ISO 31000:2018 framework, which provides
are explored in the ‘Capability’ section of this report.                         principles and guidelines for risk management.

   NATIONAL SAFETY AGENDA ISSUES

    1.           2.             3.              4.            5.               6.                   7.                8.                   9.             10.

                                                                                                                       55        +

        RIP           BOATING         ROCK      WATERCRAFT         TOXICITY    INTERNATIONAL        SNORKELLING              OVER            DANGEROUS        NEW
     CURRENTS                        FISHING                       & HEALTH       TOURISTS         & SCUBA DIVING          55 YEARS            MARINE       MIGRANTS
                                                                                                                                             CREATURES

                                      SURF LIFE SAVING AUSTR ALIA             05             INTRODUCTION
NATIONAL COA S TAL SAFET Y REPORT 2019 - SURF LIFE SAVING AUSTRALIA
COMMUNIT Y
                      SECTION ONE

 14.7M                  11.1M                9.3M
Australian adults      Coastal activity   Swimming/Wading
visited the coast       participants         participants
   in 2018/19
NATIONAL COA S TAL SAFET Y REPORT 2019 - SURF LIFE SAVING AUSTRALIA
NATIONAL COA S TAL SAFET Y REPORT 2019 - SURF LIFE SAVING AUSTRALIA
A U S T R A L I A N P O P U L AT I O N

Figure 2
AUSTRALIAN POPULATION DENSITY PER LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA (LGA)
This map shows the estimated Australian population density per LGA at June 2019. Most LGAs with a population density
higher than 100 persons per square kilometre are located on Australia’s coastal fringe.

Key to Population Density per LGA
   < 0.1 persons per km2                                    Darwin
   0.1–1 persons per km2
   1–10 persons per km2
   10–100 persons per km2
   > 100 persons per km2

                                                                                                                          Brisbane

                   Perth

                                                                               Adelaide                                    Sydney
                                                                                                         Canberra

                                          0                          1,000km                           Melbourne

                                                      SCALE

                                                                                                   Hobart

                                    SURF LIFE SAVING AUSTR ALIA        08          NATIONAL COASTAL SAFET Y REPORT 2019
NATIONAL COA S TAL SAFET Y REPORT 2019 - SURF LIFE SAVING AUSTRALIA
C O A S TA L P A R T I C I P AT I O N

    Scuba                                                                                                         5+ times per week
    Diving           Total: 3%
                                                                                                                  1-4 times per week
      PWC            Total: 3%                                                                                    1-3 times per month
                                                                                                                  3-11 times per year
       Rock
    Fishing                 Total: 6%                                                                             Less often

 Watercraft                 Total: 6%

    Surfing                      Total: 7%

Snorkelling                           Total: 9%

   Boating                                        Total: 14%
Land-based
    Fishing                                         Total: 15%
Swimming/                                                                                                                  Total: 50%
   Wading

Figure 3
2019: COASTAL VISITATION BY ACTIVITY
Questions: Which of the following coastal activities have you participated in during the past 12 months?
How often do you participate in these activities?

                                                                                      Swimming
                                                                                      9.3 million swimmers
FREQUENT VS OCCASIONAL PARTICIPATION                                                  3.3 million frequent swimmers (at least once a month)
Annually, there are at least 11.1 million coastal activity participants.              4 swimming hours per occasional swimmer per year
On average Australians visit the coast 3.4 times per month.                           90 swimming hours per frequent swimmer per year

              Land-based Fishing                                                      Boating
              2.9 million fishers                                                     2.7 million boaters
              0.9 million frequent fishers (at least once a month)                    0.7 million frequent boaters (at least once a month)
              11 fishing hours per occasional fisher per year                         10 boating hours per occasional boater per year
              125 fishing hours per frequent fisher per year                          150 boating hours per frequent boater per year

              Snorkelling                                                             Surfing
              1.7 million snorkellers                                                 1.4 million surfers
              0.4 million frequent snorkellers (at least once a month)                0.8 million frequent surfers (at least once a month)
              3 snorkelling hours per occasional snorkeller per year                  6 surfing hours per occasional surfer per year
              170 snorkelling hours per frequent snorkeller per year                  150 surfing hours per frequent surfer per year

              Watercraft                                                              Rock Fishing
              1.1 million watercraft users                                            1.1 million rock fishers
              0.4 million frequent watercraft users (at least once a month)           0.5 million frequent rock fishers (at least once a month)
              5 watercraft hours per occasional watercraft user per year              10 fishing hours per occasional rock fisher per year
              140 watercraft hours per frequent watercraft user per year              190 fishing hours per frequent rock fisher per year

              Personal Water Craft (PWC)                                              Scuba Diving
              0.6 million PWC users                                                   0.6 million scuba divers
              0.2 million frequent PWC users (at least once a month)                  0.2 million frequent scuba divers (at least once a month)
              4 PWC hours per occasional PWC user per year                            5 diving hours per occasional diver per year
              30 PWC hours per frequent PWC user per year                             110 diving hours per frequent diver per year

                                                       SECTION ONE            09   COMMUNIT Y
A C T I V I T Y P A R T I C I P AT I O N
           C OA S TA L AC T I V I T Y PA R T I C I PA N T S: D E M O G R A PH I C & LO C AT I O N S E L E C T I O N

2019: SWIMMING/WADING                                              2019: FISHING

                                                                                                                           Land-based

                                                                                                                           Rock

                                                                                    2.9M
 51%
            9.3M                   49%                              40% 29%         Land-based

                                                                                    1.1M
                                                                                          &
                                                                                                       71% 60%

            Swimming/
                                                                                      Rock
              Wading

                                               Male                                                                      Male
                                               Female                                                                    Female

Figure 4                                                           Figure 6
2019: SWIMMING/WADING PARTICIPATION BY GENDER                      2019: FISHING PARTICIPATION BY TYPE AND GENDER

                                                                                                    Rock Fishing     Land-based Fishing

   TAS                       36%                                                     5%       VIC     10%

   SA                              44%                                        10%             TAS           15%

   VIC                              45%                                                  3%   SA            15%

   NT                                  48%                                          6%        NSW           16%

   WA                                    49%                                        6%        QLD                  18%

  NSW                                        53%                               9%             WA                     21%

  QLD                                          56%                 18%                        NT                         23%

Figure 5                                                           Figure 7
2019: SWIMMING/WADING PARTICIPATION BY STATE                       2019: FISHING PARTICIPATION BY TYPE AND STATE

HOW SWIMMERS SELECT LOCATION                                       FISHERS WHO USE A LIFEJACKET OR BUOYANCY AID

            68%                           63%
WEATHER CONDITIONS           SEA/SURF CONDITIONS

            66%                           43%                            36%
                                                                     LAND-BASED FISHERS
                                                                                                            50%ROCK FISHERS
SAFETY                       PATROLLED LOCATION

                               SURF LIFE SAVING AUSTR ALIA   10          NATIONAL COASTAL SAFET Y REPORT 2019
2019: BOATING & PWC                                                    2019: SNORKELLING & SCUBA DIVING

                                                  Boating                                                                   Snorkelling

                                                                                                                           Scuba
                                                  PWC                                                                      Diving

                2.7M
                Boating
                                                                                        1.7M
                                                                                        Snorkelling
 48%   54%
                      &       46%     52%                               46% 38%              &             62% 54%

                0.6M                                                                   0.6M
                                                                                       Scuba Diving
                 PWC

                                              Male                                                                        Male
                                              Female                                                                      Female

Figure 8                                                               Figure 10
2019: BOATING AND PWC PARTICIPATION BY GENDER                          2019: SNORKELLING AND SCUBA DIVING
                                                                       PARTICIPATION BY GENDER

                      PWC   Boating                                                         Scuba Diving    Snorkelling

       2%       VIC             9%                                               1%   TAS        4%

           1%   SA                          14%                        4%             QLD                  8%

  4%            WA                          14%                             2%        VIC                   9%

5%              QLD                          15%                       4%             NSW                       10%

5%              NSW                                  18%                      1%      SA                        10%

           1%   TAS                                  18%               4%             WA                        10%

             0% NT                                          22%             2%        NT                                                  20%

Figure 9                                                               Figure 11
2019: BOATING AND PWC PARTICIPATION BY STATE                           2019: SCUBA DIVING AND SNORKELLING
                                                                       PARTICIPATION BY STATE

SWIMMING ABILITY OF FREQUENT PARTICIPANTS                              LIFEJACKET OR BUOYANCY AID USE BY PARTICIPANTS

                23%
                                PWC USERS IDENTIFY AS
                                WEAK SWIMMERS OR
                                CAN’T SWIM

                 9%
                                BOATERS IDENTIFY AS
                                WEAK SWIMMERS OR
                                CAN’T SWIM
                                                                            35%  SNORKELLERS
                                                                                                                 78%  SCUBA DIVERS

                                              SECTION ONE         11         COMMUNIT Y
A C T I V I T Y P A R T I C I P AT I O N
            C OA S TA L AC T I V I T Y PA R T I C I PA N T S: D E M O G R A PH I C & LO C AT I O N S E L E C T I O N

2019: SURFING                                                        2019: WATERCRAFT

 32%                                 68%

                                                                                   1.1M
                                                                      50%                                   50%

             1.4M
                Surfing                                                            Watercraft

                                               Male                                                                Male
                                               Female                                                              Female

Figure 12                                                            Figure 14
2019: SURFING PARTICIPATION BY GENDER                                2019: WATERCRAFT PARTICIPATION BY GENDER

   NT        2%                                                          SA                      4%

   TAS                4%                                                TAS                            5%

   VIC                     5%                                           WA                             5%

   WA                      5%                                            NT                                   6%

  QLD                                7%                                 VIC                                   6%

   SA                                          9%                      QLD                                         7%

  NSW                                               10%                NSW                                         7%

Figure 13                                                            Figure 15
2019: SURFING PARTICIPATION BY STATE                                 2019: WATERCRAFT PARTICIPATION BY STATE

SAFETY EQUIPMENT USED BY SURFERS                                     POPULAR LOCATIONS FOR WATERCRAFT ACTIVITIES

                                                                                         34%                 BAY OR HARBOUR

    14%  HELMET
                                    17%
                                SHARK DETERRENT DEVICE                                   22%                 ESTUARY OR MANGROVE

                                  SURF LIFE SAVING AUSTR ALIA   12          NATIONAL COASTAL SAFET Y REPORT 2019
A C T I V I T Y P A R T I C I P AT I O N
                                                                          PA R T I C I PAT I O N F R E Q U E N C Y A N D E X PE R T I S E

                                            6.0
                                                                                                                                                                                        Occasional
                                                                                                                                                                                        Frequent

                                                   3.3
                                Millions

                                                           2.0               2.0

                                                                                               1.3
                                                                                   0.9
                                                                   0.7                                       0.7                      0.8
                                                                                                                                0.6                 0.6
                                                                                                     0.4           0.4                                    0.5           0.4                   0.4
                                                                                                                                                                               0.2                    0.2

                                           Swimming/        Boating         Land-based         Snorkelling   Watercraft           Surfing          Rock Fishing         Scuba Diving            PWC
                                            Wading                            Fishing

Figure 16
2019: PARTICIPANTS (MILLIONS) IN COASTAL ACTIVITIES

                                                                                                                                                                                        50km
Hours spent at coast annually

                                                                                                                                            85%
                                                                                                                                                    80%
                                                                                                                                72%

                                                                                                                         55%

                                                           60                                                                                                     41%

                                                                           40                                                                                              23%
                                                                                          20                                                                                           13%      14%

                                            50km                                 Two hours or more                          Less than 2 hours

Figure 17                                                                                                          Figure 18
2019: AVERAGE HOURS SPENT AT THE COAST BY DISTANCE                                                                 2019: HOURS SPENT AT THE COAST PER VISIT BY
OF RESIDENCE FROM THE COAST PER PERSON ANNUALLY                                                                    DISTANCE OF RESIDENCE FROM THE COAST
                                                                                                                   Where data does not total 100%, respondents answered ‘Can’t say’.

                                                                                         SECTION ONE         13                COMMUNIT Y
SWIMMING ABILITY
                                                         C O N F I D E N C E I N C OA S TA L E N V I R O N M E N T S

                                                                                                                2%
                                             17%                                                                                                        Ocean

                  22%             2%                                                                                         7%

                                                                                                                                                        Overall

                                                                                                                       59%
                                                                                                          38%    29%

                           60%                                                                                       Swim 50M at
                                                                                                                     intermediate
                          Swim at an                                                                                     level
                         intermediate                                                                                            63%      59%
                             level                                     Beginner                                                                       Beginner
                                                                       Intermediate                                                                   Intermediate
                                           60%                         Advanced                                                                       Advanced
                                                                       Can’t say                                                                      Can’t say

          Figure 19                                                                                     Figure 20
          2019: LEVEL OF EXPERTISE FOR SWIMMING AND                                                     2019: ABILITY TO SWIM 50M BY REPORTED LEVEL OF
          WADING PARTICIPANTS                                                                           EXPERTISE IN THE OCEAN COMPARED TO OVERALL

can we
extend
axis to
100%

                                                                                                           OF SWIMMERS CANNOT SWIM 50M
                                                                                                           IN THE OCEAN WITHOUT TOUCHING
                                                                               46%                         THE BOTTOM

             90

             80
                          79%
             70
                                          67%               66%                65%
             60                                                                             64%
                                                                                                              60%         58%
             50                                                                                                                         53%
             40                                                                                                                                       46%

             30

             20

             10

              0
                        Surfing        Scuba Diving      Snorkelling        Watercraft   Rock Fishing        PWC         Boating      Land-based    Swimming/
                                                                                                                                        Fishing      Wading

          Figure 21
          2019: PORTION OF PARTICIPANTS THAT CAN SWIM 50M IN THE OCEAN WITHOUT TOUCHING THE BOTTOM BY ACTIVITY

                                                      SURF LIFE SAVING AUSTR ALIA            14              NATIONAL COASTAL SAFET Y REPORT 2019
RISK PERCEPTION
                          PE R C E P T I O N S O F T H E C OA S T A N D C OA S TA L AC T I V I T I E S

                                                                                                             WHEN THINKING
     49%                                                                                                     OF THE COAST
                                                                                                             NEITHER LIFE
                                                                                                             SAVING SERVICES
                                                                                                             NOR PATROL FLAGS
                   21%
                                                                                                             CAME TO MIND
                          13%
                                     9%           8%          7%           7%            6%
                                                                                                      1%       1%

   Beach          Sand,   Water     Sun,         Surf,      Swim,         Fish,          Relax,     Cliff,   Sharks
                  sandy           sunshine      surfing   swimming       fishing      relaxation,   rocks
                                                                                        lifestyle

Figure 22
2019: THINGS THAT COME TO MIND WHEN THINKING OF THE COAST

        Waves                             39%
                                                                                                             HAZARDS ARE
 Rocks / Rocky
                                                                                                             LARGELY IGNORED
    platforms                                              59%
                                                                                                             WHEN THINKING
  Other marine
      stingers
                                                           60%
                                                                                                             OF THE COAST.
    Crocodiles                                                62%                                            THIS SUGGESTS
        Sharks                                                62%                                            VISITORS ARE
  Sun exposure
                                                                                                             UNPREPARED WHEN
                                                                   65%
                                                                                                             CONFRONTED WITH
Tropical marine
                                                                     69%
       stingers
                                                                                                             THESE HAZARDS AT
   Rip currents                                                                 80%                          THE COAST

Figure 23
2019: COASTAL FEATURES RATED AS EXTREMELY OR VERY
HAZARDOUS BY ALL ADULTS

                                                SECTION ONE              15             COMMUNIT Y
C O A S TA L S A F E T Y
                                     PE R C E P T I O N S O F T H E C OA S T A N D C OA S TA L AC T I V I T I E S

       Not very or not at all safe      Somewhat safe         Extremely or very safe

       10%                 10%
                                          19%               22%
                                                                            28%            31%                36%         37%
                                                                                                                                       43%
       44%                 45%                                                                                                                     63%
                                          56%               54%
                                                                            51%            51%                49%         46%          40%

       40%                 39%                                                                                                                     25%
                                          20%               18%             14%            11%                10%         10%          10%          7%
      Wading         Land-based        Swimming           Boating        Snorkelling     Watercraft          Surfing   Scuba Diving    PWC      Rock Fishing
                       Fishing

Figure 24
2019: HOW SAFE DO AUSTRALIAN ADULTS THINK COASTAL ACTIVITIES ARE
Where data does not total 100%, respondents answered ‘Can’t say’.

        Not confident
                            Could not identify a rip
                                                                                                                                      82%
                                                                                                                                      OF HIGHLY
         Confident          Correctly identified one rip picture
                            Correctly identified multiple rip pictures                                                                COMPETENT OCEAN
100                                                                                                                                   SWIMMERS FELT
                                                                                                                                      CONFIDENT TO
 80
                                                                                                                                      IDENTIFY A RIP
 60                                                                                                                                   BUT ONLY
 40

 20
                                                                                                                                      27%
                                                                                                                                      COULD DO SO
  0
               Unable to          Weak swimmer            Average            Competent             Highly
                                                                                                                                      ACCURATELY
                 swim                                     swimmer             swimmer            competent
                                                                                                  swimmer

Figure 25
2019: PERCEIVED CONFIDENCE TO IDENTIFY A RIP CURRENT BY SWIMMING ABILITY BROKEN DOWN BY ACTUAL ABILITY
TO IDENTIFY A RIP CURRENT
Where data does not total 100%, respondents answered ‘Can’t say’.

                                              SURF LIFE SAVING AUSTR ALIA                16              NATIONAL COASTAL SAFET Y REPORT 2019
SAFET Y PR AC TICES
                                        S A F E T Y M E A S U R E S I N C OA S TA L E N V I R O N M E N T S

               Patrolled beach during patrol hours only         Patrolled beach, but not always during patrolled hours            Unpatrolled beach

                                                                                        37%
   < 10km                                                               29%
                                                             24%

10 to 25 km                                                          28%
                                                                                                        45%
                                                                                                                                                THOSE WHO
                                             16%                                                                                                LIVE LESS THAN
                                                               25%
                                                                                                                     49%                        10KM FROM THE
26 to 50km
                                           15%                                                                                                  BEACH WERE
                                                                                                            47%                                 MORE LIKELY TO
   > 50km                                                    24%
                                                       20%                                                                                      SWIM OUTSIDE OF
                                                                                                                                                PATROL TIMES OR
                                                                                                                                                AT UNPATROLLED
Figure 26
2019: USUAL SWIMMING LOCATION BY DISTANCE OF RESIDENCE FROM THE COAST                                                                           BEACHES

               % participants who believe they are experienced enough to take a few risks
               Safety Index Rating - likelihood to follow safety practices when participating in the activity

               86                                                                           87
                               83
                                                              76                                                                           78
                                               71                             73                            72
                                                                                                                             68

                                                                                                                             56            56
                                                                                            52                  54
                                                              48              50
                               46             47
                41

              Boating         PWC         Watercraft      Swimming /     Snorkelling       Scuba       Land-based           Rock         Surfing
                                                            Wading                         Diving        Fishing           Fishing

Figure 27
2019: LIKELIHOOD OF COASTAL ACTIVITY PARTICIPANTS TO FOLLOW SAFETY PRACTICES COMPARED TO THEIR
PERCEPTION THAT THEY ARE EXPERIENCED ENOUGH TO TAKE A FEW RISKS
A safety index rating from 0 - 100 was created to demonstrate how likely coastal activity participants are to follow safety
practices. For example, on average boaters follow safety practices 86% of the time.

                                                             SECTION ONE                 17                COMMUNIT Y
F E AT U R E : Y O U N G M A L E S
                                                                    M E N AG E D 16 - 3 9

Y
          oung males are a significant demographic as they are                                                       10%                   Young Males
          continually over-represented in coastal drowning data.
          Since 2004, men aged between 16-39 account for 36%                                                         13%
                                                                                                                                           Other Adults
of all drowning deaths and 33% of other coastal fatalities. In
2018-19, 44 drowning deaths were young males aged between
16-19, above the 15 year average of 40. The average drowning                                     36%
                                                                                                            58%
                                                                                                          Young males           32%
death rate for young men is double that for other adults within                                         had no experience
the population (2.05:1), meaning young men are twice as likely to                                         in drowning
                                                                                                             activity  51%
drown than the rest of Australian adults.                                                       58%
  Young men often participate in coastal activities more than                                                                              Highly Experienced
                                                                                                                                           Experienced
the average Australian adult and often exhibit over-confidence                                                                             Not Experienced or
in their abilities. For drowning deaths involving young males                                                                              No Experience
aged 16-39, 58% had little to no experience in the activity
they were participating at the time of death (Figure 28).
This confidence is also evident in their reported risk taking                             Figure 28
behaviours, with consistently more young males considering                                2004-19: EXPERIENCE IN ACTIVITY FOR DROWNING
themselves experienced enough to take risks during activities                             DEATHS YOUNG MALES COMPARED TO OTHER ADULTS
when compared to the total adult population (Figure 29). This
risk taking tendency may escalate further under the influence of

                                                                                             64%
alcohol and drugs. For example, two-thirds of young males had
consumed alcohol when they drowned (Figure 30).
  These results show that the adventurous and confident side to
young males puts them at greater risk than other demographics
and should be considered when trying to understand the impact
                                                                                             OF YOUNG MALES HAD CONSUMED
of drowning and other fatalities on our communities.                                         ALCOHOL WHEN THEY DROWNED

  Young male population (16-39 years old)
  Total Australian adult population

       69%                                                 71%
                        66%                 67%
                                                                          64%             64%
 56%              56%                 54%                                                                   55%
                                                     52%            50%                                                              52%
                                                                                    48%               47%                49%
                                                                                                                   46%
                                                                                                                               41%

   Surfing        Rock Fishing        Land-based     Scuba Diving    Snorkelling    Swimming/         Watercraft     PWC         Boating
                                        Fishing                                      Wading

Figure 29
YOUNG MALES COMPARED TO THE ADULT POPULATION WHO CONSIDER THEMSELVES TO BE EXPERIENCED
ENOUGH TO TAKE RISKS DURING AN ACTIVITY
Young males are consistently more confident to take risks compared to the total adult population.

                                            SURF LIFE SAVING AUSTR ALIA            18            NATIONAL COASTAL SAFET Y REPORT 2019
F E AT U R E : Y O U N G M A L E S
                                                                     M E N AG E D 16 - 3 9

ALCOHOL USE
                                                                                                       25%

                THE AVERAGE BLOOD ALCOHOL
                                                                                                                                        39%
                CONTENT WAS 0.16, MORE THAN
                TRIPLE THE LEGAL LIMIT

                                                                                                              64%
CANNABIS USE                                                                                                      Alcohol

                   2.08:1
                   RATIO YOUNG MALES:OTHER ADULTS
                                                                                                         36%
                                                                                                                                                        Alcohol only
                                                                                                                                                        Drugs only
                                                                                                                                                        Alcohol and Drugs

                                                                                          Figure 30
AMPHETAMINE USE                                                                           2004-19: ALCOHOL AND DRUGS CONTRIBUTED TO 23%

                2.71:1
                RATIO YOUNG MALES:OTHER ADULTS
                                                                                          OF YOUNG MALE DROWNING DEATHS (n=135). OF THESE
                                                                                          CASES, 39% HAD CONSUMED ALCOHOL ONLY (n=52), 36%
                                                                                          HAD TAKEN DRUGS ONLY (n=49), WHILE 25% HAD BOTH
                                                                                          ALCOHOL AND DRUGS IN THEIR SYSTEM (n=34)

                         40
                   YOUNG MALES: 15 YEAR
                                                                        44
                                                              YOUNG MALES: 2018-19
                                                                                                                  2.05:1
                                                                                                              YOUNG MALES TO OTHER ADULTS
                    DROWNING AVERAGE                           DROWNING DEATHS                                  RATE OF DROWNING DEATHS

                                                                           48                                                  49
                                                                                               45                                                             44
                                  42                  42                             43
                                            40
              37        37                                      36
                                                                                                                     34                            33
                                                                                                             31                          32

            2004-05   2005-06   2006-07   2007-08   2008-09   2009-10    2010-11   2011-12   2012-13    2013-14    2014-15   2015-16   2016-17   2017-18   2018-19

Figure 31                                                                                                Young male drowning deaths per 100,000 pop.
2004–19: 15-YEAR TREND OF YOUNG MALES DROWNING DEATHS

                                                           SECTION ONE             19                 COMMUNIT Y
F E AT U R E : B Y S TA N D E R R E S C U E S I N
                                     AUSTR ALIA

 W
               ater safety and drowning prevention is a complex                                  The Citizen Lifesaver Survey was completed by 243 people,
               public health challenge especially given that many                             approximately half of whom had received prior water-safety
               drowning incidents occur away from lifeguard or                                training, and found that bystander rescues were different
lifesaver services. In these situations, the only available help is                           depending on aquatic environment. Most occurred at beach
often in the form of bystander rescuers. The term ‘bystander’                                 locations more than 1km away from lifesaving services.
describes any member of the public, be it family, friend or                                      Comparatively, males performed more bystander rescues
stranger, who attempts to rescue someone in distress. However,                                in natural waterways (coastal and inland) than females, who
bystander rescuers may lack experience, thereby placing                                       conducted more rescues in swimming pools. Most male
both themselves and the rescuee at risk and tragically it is not                              bystander rescuers had some level of water safety training
uncommon for bystander rescuers to drown. Nevertheless,                                       compared to females.
bystander rescues are increasingly recognised for the significant                                Results of the study highlight the valuable role that off-duty
role they play in saving lives and the World Health Organisation                              lifesavers and lifeguards play in drowning prevention, as
has identified “train bystanders in safe rescue and resuscitation”                            bystanders with water safety training made three times more
as the fourth-most important action to reduce the global rates                                rescues than those without training. Most bystanders did not use
of drowning.                                                                                  a flotation device, but those with training were more likely to use
   Surf Life Saving Australia (SLSA) report 53 coastal drowning                               one during a rescue. None of the 53 bystander coastal drowning
deaths of bystander rescuers on Australian beaches between                                    deaths reported the use of a flotation device, indicating that more
2004-2017, representing four percent of all coastal drowning                                  training and better communication regarding the usefulness
deaths. Additionally, thirteen percent of Australians aged 16-69                              of flotation devices are potentially important messages to help
have reported conducting a bystander rescue. SLSA with the                                    reduce numbers of drowning deaths.
University of NSW, Sydney and James Cook University recently
investigated the characteristics of bystander rescues in Australia1.
The main aims of this study were to determine the importance
of prior water safety training in bystander rescues and to guide
future public education strategies.

Footnote: 1Citation: Brander RW, Warton N, Franklin RC, Shaw WS, Rijksen EJT, Daw S (2019) Characteristics of aquatic rescues
undertaken by bystanders in Australia. PLoS ONE 14(2): e0212349. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0212349

                                    SURF LIFE SAVING AUSTR ALIA                   20               NATIONAL COASTAL SAFET Y REPORT 2019
B Y S TA N D E R R E S C U E S S N A P S H O T

            36%
            BYSTANDER RESCUES                 OF BYSTANDER RESCUERS
            WERE CONDUCTED                    RATE THEMSELVES AS A
            AT BEACHES                        STRONG SWIMMER

NO FLOTATION
DEVICE USED                                   PREVIOUS WATER SAFETY TRAINING

                                     Male

28%
                                     Female

 46%                                                        MALE
       Previous
       training
                  54%
                        72%

                               Yes
                                                       36%FEMALE
                               No

                                              13%
                              CONFIDENT IN    OF AUSTRALIANS AGES 16 - 69
                              ABILITY TO      HAVE REPORTED CONDUCTING
                              MAKE RESCUE     A BYSTANDER RESCUE
C A PA B I LI T Y
           SECTION T WO

10,176 50,534                      1,379,056
RESCUES    PROFICIENT MEMBERS      VOLUNTEER PATROL HOURS

1,094                     314                   103
 IRBs                      Clubs                  UAVs
C A PA B I LIT Y

S
         urf Life Saving (SLS) has significant capability to provide           SURF LIFE SAVING (SLS) HAS
         coastal surveillance patrols and aquatic search and rescue
         (SAR) operations, working in close partnership with police
                                                                            SIGNIFICANT CAPABILITY TO PROVIDE
and other emergency services.                                               COASTAL SURVEILLANCE PATROLS
   These services are expertly delivered and managed by the
40,959 Bronze Medallion holders and 9,575 Surf Rescue
                                                                            AND AQUATIC SEARCH AND RESCUE
Certificate holders (totalling 50,534 proficient surf lifesavers)           (SAR) OPERATIONS, WORKING IN
through the 314 Surf Life Saving Clubs. This is alongside over
1,000 full time, seasonal and casual lifeguards. Surf lifesavers and
                                                                            CLOSE PARTNERSHIP WITH POLICE AND
lifeguards receive specialised training to industry best-practice           OTHER EMERGENCY SERVICES.
standards under the Australian Qualifications Framework
ensuring the community receives consistent service of the                   AUSTRALIAN LIFEGUARD SERVICE
highest quality across the nation.                                             The Australian Lifeguard Service (ALS) is a national lifeguard
   Radio communications provide support to all services via SLS             provider of beach and pool lifeguard services to 65 local
coastal radio networks or government radio networks, which are              government councils and land managers across Australia. It is the
connected to SLS communication and operation centres. These                 largest supplier of professional lifeguards in Australia.
centres provide operational support, data management and                       ALS operations are fully integrated into the 24-hour surf
when required coordinate the SLS emergency response system.                 emergency response system and work with SLS’s volunteer
                                                                            lifesaving services including the strategically located Westpac
VOLUNTEER SURF LIFESAVERS                                                   Lifesaver Rescue Helicopter Services.
  Our volunteer surf lifesavers are provided with fit-for-purpose              ALS patrols provide a range of services, from single-day patrols
equipment designed to operate in the hazardous and challenging              during periods of peak attendance (i.e. public holidays) to 365-
conditions that SLS services encounter. Surf lifesavers utilise             day services for local governments. They are a crucial component
thousands of rescue boards and rescue tubes mostly around the               in offering a seamless service to the community during peak
red and yellow flagged patrol areas. They are supported by 1,094            periods. Several councils around Australia operate internal
inflatable rescue boats (IRB), allowing surf lifesavers to quickly          lifeguard services. Statistics for those services have not been
navigate the surf zone and inshore environment.                             included in this report.
  Roving surveillance patrols that actively monitor stretches
of coastline near a primary patrolled areas are vital to the SLS            WESTPAC LIFESAVER RESCUE HELICOPTERS
drowning prevention strategy. Surf lifesavers undertake these                 For rapid, isolated or complex rescues, eight Westpac Lifesaver
patrols using 567 side-by-side (SSV) and 4WD vehicles. Similarly,           Rescue Helicopters provide aerial support to lifesaving services
aerial surveillance can be undertaken through the fleet of 103              and further extend our surveillance and SAR capability. These
Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs).                                            important assets also support police and other emergency
  SLS services extend beyond the red and yellow flags to provide            services in a range of emergency and disaster situations.
surveillance and emergency response in isolated and hazardous
coastal areas. Agile craft such as 181 rescue water craft (RWC)
and six jet rescue boats (JRBs) allow surf lifesavers to access
white-water areas such as coastal bars and rocky coastlines.
  A fleet of ten offshore rescue boats (ORBs) and eight rigid-hull
inflatable boats (RIBs) further extend the SLS response capability
providing longer range surveillance, blue-water rescue and
SAR operations.

                                 SURF LIFE SAVING AUSTR ALIA           24           NATIONAL COASTAL SAFET Y REPORT 2019
GOLD
               SILVER                         IRB CREW                                                      MEDALLION
             MEDALLION                       CERTIFICATE                                                    (ADVANCED
               BEACH                            14,388                                                      LIFESAVING)
            MANAGEMENT                                                                                          534
               8,845

                                              SILVER
                                                                    BRONZE
                                            MEDALLION              MEDALLION                          ADVANCED
                                             AQUATIC                40,959                          RESUSCITATION
                                             RESCUE                                                  TECHNIQUES
                                               783                                                      9,601

                                                           FIRST AID
                                                            10,545                     SILVER
                                   SPINAL                                            MEDALLION                         RADIO
                                 MANAGEMENT                                          IRB DRIVER                       OPERATOR
                                    5,898                                               7,292                        CERTIFICATE
                                                                                                                        4,563

Figure 32
2018–19: QUALIFICATIONS HELD BY BRONZE MEDALLION HOLDERS
40,959 proficient Bronze Medallion holders also are proficient in nine other lifesaving awards, totalling over 60,000 additional lifesaving
qualifications. This highlights the large amount of additional volunteer training our surf lifesavers undertake to ensure they are highly
skilled first responders.

Advanced Resuscitation Techniques [AID]                                                           9,601 604
                          First Aid [AID]                                                                 10,545 1,279

   Gold Medallion (Advanced Lifesaving)     534
                    IRB Crew Certificate                                                                                            14,388
              Radio Operator Certificate                     4,563 1,641
         Silver Medallion Aquatic Rescue     783
    Silver Medallion Beach Management                                                     8,845
              Silver Medallion IRB Driver                                       7,292
                    Spinal Management                                  5,898   240
                                                                                                                    Award held by Bronze Medallion Holders
  Surf Rescue Certificate (CPR Endorsed)                                                          9,575             Award held by non-Bronze Medallion holders

Figure 33
2018–19: TOTAL QUALIFICATIONS OF PROFICIENT LIFESAVERS

                                                   SECTION T WO            25            CAPABILIT Y
S U RF LIFE SAVIN G S E RVI CE S

Figure 34
2018–19: SURF LIFE SAVING SERVICES
There are 314 Surf Life Saving Clubs around Australia: 129 in New South Wales, 57 in Queensland, 57 in Victoria, 31 in Western
Australia, 22 in South Australia, 15 in Tasmania and 3 in Northern Territory. The Australian Lifeguard Service provides 238 lifeguard
services around Australia: 90 in New South Wales, 78 in Queensland, 44 in Victoria, 17 in Western Australia, 5 in Northern Territory,
2 in South Australia and 2 in Tasmania.

                                                                 Darwin

                                                                      8

                                                                                                       135
                                   48

                                                                                                                     Brisbane
                                                                           24
                           Perth                                                                         219
                                                                                  Adelaide                  Sydney
                                                                                                   Canberra
                                                                                       101
                                                                                             Melbourne
                                          0                      1,000km

                                                      SCALE

                                                                                              Hobart

                                                                                                       17

                                   SURF LIFE SAVING AUSTR ALIA      26          NATIONAL COASTAL SAFET Y REPORT 2019
M E M B E R S H I P C A PAC IT Y

   12,001
                                                                                                                                        Male
                                                                                                                                        Female

               6,452
                            5,589
                                      3,689         3,663
                                                              2,896        3,098
                                                                                    2,204
                                                                                                 1,425        1,009   582         356             69         53

         NSW                      QLD                       VIC                    WA                    SA                 TAS                        NT

Figure 35
2018–19: PATROLLING MEMBERS
There were a total of 43,092 members who performed a patrol. This includes 6 unspecified gender.

   17,961

                                                                                                                                        Bronze Medallion
                                                                                                                                        Surf Rescue Certificate
                            9,363

                                                    5,915
                                                                           4,449
               3,494
                                      2,626
                                                                                                 2,352
                                                              1,392                     1,346                         809
                                                                                                               576                129            110         12

         NSW                        QLD                     VIC                    WA                    SA                 TAS                         NT

Figure 36
2018–19: PROFICIENT MEMBERS
There were a total of 40,959 proficient Bronze Medallion holders and 9,575 Surf Rescue Certificate holders.

                       4%
                                                                                                2018-19: PATROLLING SURF LIFESAVERS
            8%

                                                                                                                      61%
  12%
                                              37%

                 37%
                  Board                                                                                                     MALE
                                                            Board
   17%
                                                            RWC

                                                                                                                      39%
                                                            Rescue Tube
                                                            IRB
                            22%                             No Gear
                                                            Other
                                                                                                                       FEMALE
Figure 37
2018-19: EQUIPMENT USE IN RESCUES

                                                            SECTION T WO                27         CAPABILIT Y
A S S E T C A PA B I LIT Y

Figure 38
2018–19: SLS MAJOR ASSET LOCATION AND SERVICE RANGE
SLS maintains a fleet of 181 rescue water craft (RWC), as well as 6 jet rescue boats (JRB), 8 rigid-hull inflatable boats (RIB),
10 offshore rescue boats (ORB) and 8 rescue helicopters. Their locations and service ranges are depicted on this map.

Key to Asset Location

    Jet Rescue Boat ( JRB)

    Rigid-hull Inflatable Boat (RIB)                            Darwin

    Offshore Rescue Boat (ORB)

    Rescue Helicopter

                                                                                                                      Brisbane

                               Perth

                                                                                        Adelaide                       Sydney
                                                                                                        Canberra

                                                                                                    Melbourne
                                                 0                       1,000km

                                                            SCALE

                                                                                                          Hobart

                                       SURF LIFE SAVING AUSTR ALIA        28       NATIONAL COASTAL SAFET Y REPORT 2019
RESCUES

Figure 39
2018–19: RESCUES PER LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA (LGA)
SLS lifesavers, lifeguards and lifesaving services performed 10,176 rescues across 117 LGAs around Australia.

            Key to Rescues per LGA

                  < 14 Rescues
                                                                   Darwin
                  15 - 49 Rescues

                  50 - 149 Rescues

                  150 - 899 Rescues

                  > 900 Rescues

                                                                        76

                                                                                                      3,894
                                       590

                                                                                                                      Brisbane
                                                                            304
                                      Perth
                                                                                                          4,710
                                                                                      Adelaide               Sydney
                                                                                                      Canberra
                                                                                            526
                                                                                              Melbourne
                                              0                    1,000km

                                                       SCALE

                                                                                                 Hobart

                                                                                                          76

                                              SECTION T WO       29           CAPABILIT Y
P R E V E N TAT I V E A C T I O N S

Figure 40
2018–19: PREVENTATIVE ACTIONS PER LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA (LGA)
SLS lifesavers, lifeguards and lifesaving services performed 1,566,449 preventative actions across 117 LGAs around Australia.

            Key to Preventative Actions per LGA

                  < 1,449 Actions
                                                                            Darwin
                  1,500 - 5,999 Actions

                  6,000 - 24,999 Actions

                  25,000 - 99,999 Actions

                  > 100,000 Actions

                                                                             7,934

                                                                                                               716,215
                                                54,493
                                                                                                                                Brisbane
                                                                              14,404
                                            Perth
                                                                                                              628,539
                                                                                              Adelaide                 Sydney
                                                                                                                Canberra

                                                                                                         Melbourne
                                                         0                  1,000km

                                                                    SCALE

                                                                                      133,553             Hobart     11,311

                                            SURF LIFE SAVING AUSTR ALIA     30         NATIONAL COASTAL SAFET Y REPORT 2019
FIRST AID

Figure 41
2018–19: FIRST AID PER LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA (LGA)
SLS lifesavers, lifeguards and lifesaving services performed 89,695 first aid treatments across 117 LGAs around Australia.

            Key to First Aid Incidents per LGA

                   < 59 Incidents
                                                                    Darwin
                   60 - 249 Incidents

                   250 - 549 Incidents

                   550 - 4,999 Incidents

                   > 5,000 Incidents

                                                                         515

                                                                                                         65,133
                                           2,802
                                                                                                                         Brisbane

                                                                         1,008
                                           Perth
                                                                                                        17,174
                                                                                       Adelaide                 Sydney
                                                                                                         Canberra

                                                                                                  Melbourne
                                                   0                1,000km

                                                            SCALE

                                                                              2,956                Hobart

                                                                                                              107

                                                   SECTION T WO     31         CAPABILIT Y
F E AT U R E : T H E F R E A K W A V E M Y T H

R
          ock fishing is currently Australia’s third highest                The media contributes to this myth by drawing on the fear of
          cause of coastal drowning, following swimming and               terrifying freak waves, but results from this study suggests that
          boating. The media often attributes these fatalities to         attempts to scare fishers into behaving differently is unlikely to
unexpected large waves or ‘freak waves’. Now, the rock fishing            be effective. From the perspective of experienced fishers, when
community, Melbourne University and Surf Life Saving Australia            media and government draw on the concept of a ‘freak wave’
are challenging the idea of ‘freak waves’ on Australia’s coasts by        they are demonstrating either a poor understanding of coastal
offering new ways to consider risk.                                       processes and risk, or perhaps worse, a misrepresentation of the
  During this project, highly experienced fishers’ (i.e.,                 situation in an effort to govern coastal users.
experiential-experts) revealed that only fishers who do not                 The expert knowledge held by experienced fishers is invaluable,
understand how the wave period influences the timing of waves             and they should be encouraged to share their knowledge-
would refer to a large wave during seemingly calm conditions as           practices with less-experienced fishers.
a ‘freak wave’.                                                             This sharing or exchange of knowledge should be supported
  To help explain how wave periods effect the appearance                  by coastal risk managers by improving the communication
and timing of waves, an experiential-expert provided a sketch             between the experienced and inexperienced components of the
showing that when the wave period is 4 - 12 seconds, you can see          rock fishing community. For example, better communication
dangerous waves more easily. But, during wave periods over 12             regarding how longer wave periods affect the appearance of
seconds, wave heights appear less often, giving the sea a calm            risk will help inexperienced fishers to learn, understand and
appearance (figure 42).                                                   experience the variety of conditions they are likely to encounter
  The relationship between rock fishing-related drowning deaths           while fishing. Integration of such supportive strategies will
were then compared with the daily average wave height, swell              increase overall enjoyment by fishers and ultimately work
direction, and wave period to examine whether experienced                 towards reducing rock-fishing related incidents.
fishers’ perceptions of long wave periods aligned with the
conditions when fishers drowned.
  Results showed that the wave periods were higher than
average, in support of experiential-expert fishers accounts               Footnote: Reprinted from Ocean and Coastal Management, Vol 173, Peter Kamstra,
claiming that when waves are less obvious, inexperienced fishers          Brian Cook, David M.Kennedy, Sarah McSweeney, Eveline Rijksen, Shane Daw, Expert
                                                                          perceptions of the ‘freak’ wave myth on Australia’s rocky coasts, Page 104-113,
are at greater risk due to a lack of understanding on how to              Copyright Elsevier (2019) with permission from Elsevier https://doi.org/10.1016/j.
accurately perceive risks.                                                ocecoaman.2019.02.015

                                SURF LIFE SAVING AUSTR ALIA          32              NATIONAL COASTAL SAFET Y REPORT 2019
Inexperienced fishers tend only to assess risk on the conditions close to shore. More experienced fishers are
attuned to the fact that calm conditions close to shore can still precede large waves in long period sets.

                          (In)experienced Visibility         Experienced Attunement
                                   of Risk                           to Risk

                          25m

   4 SEC WAVE                   High risk                        Low risk
   PERIOD

                           100m

   8 SEC WAVE                   Moderate risk                    Moderate risk
   PERIOD

                                225m

   12 SEC WAVE                  Low risk                         High risk
   PERIOD

                                                505m

   18 SEC WAVE                  Absence of risk                  Very high risk
   PERIOD                                                                                       Wave length (m)

Figure 42
DIFFERENT RISK PERCEPTIONS AND THE ASSOCIATED SPATIALITY OF THOSE PERCEPTIONS BETWEEN
INEXPERIENCED AND EXPERIENCED; DESCRIBED BY A ROCK FISHER WITH OVER SEVEN YEARS EXPERIENCE.
ADAPTED FROM AN EXPERIENTIAL-EXPERT SKETCH

                                                  SECTION T WO          33        CAPABILIT Y
D R O W N I N G A N A LY S I S
                     SECTION THREE

        122        COASTAL & OCEAN
        DROWNING DEATHS
                                                 87
                                                 MALE
                                                     %           13  %
                                                                 FEMALE

                 CONTRIBUTING DROWNING FACTORS 2004-19

                             Medical Condition
  Rip Currents                   or Injury               Alcohol/Drugs
    25%                          32%                        22%
SECTION HEADING
    S E C T I O N 01
N AT I O N A L O V E R V I E W
                                                                        2 0 0 4 -19: 15 -Y E A R R E V I E W

              150                           No Cause of Death listed               Cause of Death listed                                                                       0.6
                                                                                                           134                          136
                                                                                                                                                                      122
              120                         115                                                  117                            114                 110                          0.5

                                                                                                                                                                                     Rate (per 100,000 pop.)
                                107                            106        105                                                                               107
                                                     104
                      96
               90                                                                    91
                                                                                                                     85
 Number (n)

                                                                                                                                                                               0.4
               60

                                                                                                                                                                               0.3
               30

                0                                                                                                                                                              0.0
                    2004-05    2005-06   2006-07    2007-08   2008-09    2009-10   2010-11   2011-12   2012-13     2013-14   2014-15   2015-16   2016-17   2017-18   2018-19

Figure 43

                                                                                                     0.48                                                  110
2004-19: 15-YEAR TREND OF NATIONAL COASTAL
DROWNING DEATHS
National coastal and ocean drowning death numbers and crude
drowning rates for 2004-19 are illustrated above. The 2018-19 rate                                   15-YEAR AVERAGE RATE                                  15-YEAR AVERAGE
per 100,000 population is 0.48, exactly on the 15-year average.                                      PER 100,000 POPULATION                                DROWNING DEATHS

                           Swimming/Wading                                                                           Attempting a Rescue
                           2004-19                      2018-19                                                      2004-19                         2018-19

                           33                           43                                                           4                               6
                           Boating & PWC                                                                             Scuba Diving
                           2004-19                      2018-19                                                      2004-19                         2018-19

                           24                           17                                                           5                               5
                           Watercraft                                                                                Snorkelling
                           2004-19                      2018-19                                                      2004-19                         2018-19

                           8                            10                                                           7                               9
                           Rock Fishing                                                                              Fall
                           2004-19                      2018-19                                                      2004-19                         2018-19

                           12                           9                                                            5                               9
Figure 44
2004-19: 15-YEAR AVERAGE COMPARED TO 2018-19 COASTAL & OCEAN DROWNING DEATHS BY ACTIVITY
Nationally, the number of activity types being undertaken when coastal and ocean drowning deaths occur varies over time. In 2018-19,
the number of drowning deaths while conducting swimming/wading, watercraft, fall, snorkelling and attempting a rescue activities were
above the 15-year average, while boating and PWC and rock fishing incidents were below the 15-year average. The number of drowning
deaths while scuba diving were equal to the 15-year average.

                                                   SURF LIFE SAVING AUSTR ALIA                36                 NATIONAL COASTAL SAFET Y REPORT 2019
2004-19: KEY DEMOGRAPHICS IN COASTAL
                       3% 3%                                                                                                 & OCEAN DROWNING STATISTICS
                  3%
                                    1%

                                                                                                                                                      87%
      15%

                       53%                                          53%
                                                                                             Australia
                                                                                                                                                             MALE

                                                                                                                                                      13%
                                                                                             Asia
      22%              Australia                                                             Europe
                                                                                             Oceania
                                                                                             North America
                                                                                             Africa
                                                                                                                                                             FEMALE
                                                                                             Latin America

Figure 45
2004-19: COASTAL & OCEAN DROWNING DEATHS                                                                                     The 20-34 year old age group represents 27% of all drowning
BY REGION OF BIRTH
                                                                                                                             deaths. The 45-54 year old age group accounts for 19% of all
The region of birth is currently known for 73% of all coastal and                                                            drowning deaths.
ocean drowning deaths (n=1,225), with 53% from Australia. When
breaking it down to continents, the top 3 are Australia (n=637),
Asia (n=271) and Europe (n=185).                                                                                              20-34YEARS OF AGE
                                                                                                                                                              &       45-54
                                                                                                                                                                         YEARS OF AGE

300
                                                                                                                             10%
250
                                                                                                                              8%
200

                                                                                                                              6%
150

                                                                                                                              4%
100

 50                                                                                                                           2%

  0                                                                                                                            0
                                                                                                                 June
       July

                                    October

                                                         December
              August

                                              November
                        September

                                                                                           March

                                                                                                                                    12-1 am
                                                                                                                                     1-2am
                                                                                                                                     2-3am
                                                                                                                                     3-4am
                                                                                                                                     4-5am
                                                                                                                                     5-6am
                                                                                                                                     6-7am
                                                                                                                                     7-8am
                                                                                                                                     8-9am
                                                                                                                                    9-10am
                                                                                                                                   10-11am
                                                                                                                                   11-12pm
                                                                                                                                    12-1pm
                                                                                                                                     1-2pm
                                                                                                                                     2-3pm
                                                                                                                                     3-4pm
                                                                                                                                     4-5pm
                                                                                                                                     5-6pm
                                                                                                                                     6-7pm
                                                                                                                                     7-8pm
                                                                                                                                     8-9pm
                                                                                                                                    9-10pm
                                                                                                                                   10-11pm
                                                                                                                                   11-12am
                                                                    January

                                                                                                   April
                                                                              February

                                                                                                           May

Figure 46                                                                                                                    Figure 47
2004-19: COASTAL & OCEAN DROWNING DEATHS                                                                                     2004-19: COASTAL & OCEAN DROWNING
BY MONTH                                                                                                                     DEATHS BY TIME
The highest percentage of coastal and ocean drowning deaths                                                                  Incident time is currently known for 84% of all coastal and ocean
occurred in the month of January (n=260), followed by December                                                               drowning deaths (n=1,381). The highest density of fatalities
(n=194) and March (n=184). Sixty-two per cent occurred outside                                                               occurred between 12pm and 5pm (n=608).
of the summer months. Shading denotes seasons.

                                                                                         SECTION THREE                  37               DROWNING ANALYSIS
N AT I O N A L O V E R V I E W
                                                    2 018 -19: 1-Y E A R R E V I E W

  S
         ince 2017, SLSA has reported coastal fatalities as well
         as coastal drowning deaths. This allows SLSA to better
         understand the impact other coastal fatalities, such as
medical conditions, marine creatures and other causes, may have
on surf lifesaving services and the wider community. Further
research has been undertaken to investigate the environment
                                                                               35%
                                                                                            64%
(aquatic or non-aquatic) in which the other coastal fatalities                               Coastal
occur. Non-aquatic fatalities refer to incidents which have                                 Drowning
occurred at a coastal location but not in the aquatic environment.                       1%
                                                                                             Deaths               64%

  In 2018-19, a total of 122 coastal drowning deaths were
recorded. Additionally, SLSA recorded 68 coastal fatalities                                                                    Coastal Drowning
taking the total number of coastal fatalities to 190. Coastal                                                                  Ocean Drowning
                                                                                                                               Other Fatalities
drowning deaths and other coastal fatalities can have long term,
devastating impacts to family, friends and loved ones in addition
to emergency and lifesaving services.                                        Figure 49
  Acknowledging that 35 per cent of coastal fatalities are not               2018-19: OVERVIEW OF DROWNING DEATHS AND
as a result of drowning creates a range of challenges for the                FATALITIES PER CATEGORY
greater community, SLS and all other aquatic emergency service
agencies. Understanding the type of incidents that occur and the
contributing factors that lead to the fatality will assist to develop
strategies to help reduce incidents in the future.
                                                                                 122
                                                                                 DROWNING
                                                                                                                   68
                                                                                                                  COASTAL
  As the peak coastal rescue authority, Australia’s Surf Lifesaving               DEATHS                         FATALITIES
Services respond to a range of different coastal incidents.
Research that incorporates coastal drowning deaths and
fatalities will help to identify black spots, provide evidence-
based recommendations to develop preventative or mitigation
strategies for communities as well as provide the necessary
                                                                             121 1 26
                                                                             COASTAL        OCEAN      INTENTIONAL
                                                                                                                               42
                                                                                                                            UNINTENTIONAL
training and support to our lifesaving services.

                                                                                                                    27 13 2
                                                                                                                    AQUATIC      NON        UNKNOWN
                                                                                                                               AQUATIC
             70

             60

             50

             40
Number (n)

             30

             20                                                                                                               Unknown
                                                                                                                              Non-aquatic
             10
                                                                                                                              Aquatic
             0                                                                                                                Drowning
                  NSW      QLD           VIC          WA           SA            TAS            NT

Figure 48
2018–19: OVERVIEW OF DROWNING DEATHS AND AQUATIC FATALITIES PER STATE

                                  SURF LIFE SAVING AUSTR ALIA           38           NATIONAL COASTAL SAFET Y REPORT 2019
Coastal drowning death
  Coastal fatality
  Coastal drowning death or fatality

                                                           Darwin

                                                                2
                                                                                          23 | 14

                           15 | 10

                                                             13 | 11                                           Brisbane

                       Perth
                                                                                             44 | 25
                                                                              Adelaide                Sydney
                                                                                               Canberra

                                                                                         Melbourne
                                       0                   1,000km

                                            SCALE

                                                                     23 | 4
                                                                                              6
                                                                                          Hobart

Figure 50
2018-19: COASTAL DROWNING DEATHS AND FATALITIES BY STATE
In 2018-19 there were 122 coastal and ocean drowning deaths and 68 coastal fatalities. Red numbers indicate coastal and ocean
drowning deaths per state. Blue numbers indicate coastal fatalities per state. The black number indicates both coastal drowning
deaths and fatalities combined.

                                           SECTION THREE             39       DROWNING ANALYSIS
N AT I O N A L O V E R V I E W
                                                                2 018 -19: 1-Y E A R R E V I E W

                                                                                                                           Female
                                                                                                                           Male
              16                                                                                                                                1.4

              14                                                                                                                                1.2

                                                                                                                                                         Rate (per 100,000 pop.)
              12
                                                                                                                                                1.0
              10
                                                                                                                                                0.8
               8
Number (n)

                                                                                                                                                0.6
               6
                                                                                                                                                0.4
               4

               2                                                                                                                                0.2

               0                                                                                                                                0.0
                       0-4   5-9   10-14 15-19 20-24 25-29 30-34 35-39      40-44 45-49 50-54 55-59 60-64 65-69 70-74 75-79 80-84         85+

Figure 51
2018-19: COASTAL & OCEAN DROWNING DEATHS BY AGE AND GENDER (n=122 )
20-24 year olds represent the highest number of drowning deaths. The age group representing the highest rate of drowning deaths
is 75-79 (1.14 rate per 100,000 pop.). Overall, 87% (n=106) of fatalities were male.

                             6%                                                                           3%
                       6%                                                                            4%

                  4%                                                                                           2%

             5%                                                                           15%
                                                 35%

                             35%
                                                            Swimming/Wading
      7%                                                    Boating & PWC

                                                                                                        58%
                                                            Watercraft
                                                            Rock Fishing
             7%
                         Swimming/                          Snorkelling
                           Wading                           Fall                          18%
                                                                                                         Beach                58%          Beach
                                                            Attempting a rescue                                                            Rock/Cliff
                   7%                                       Scuba Diving                                                                   Offshore
                                        14%                                                                                                Bay
                             8%                             Other
                                                            Unknown                                                                        Port/Marina
                                                                                                                                           Other

Figure 52                                                                              Figure 53
2018-19: COASTAL & OCEAN DROWNING                                                      2018-19: LOCATION OF COASTAL AND OCEAN
DEATHS BY ACTIVITY (n=122)                                                             DROWNING DEATHS (n=122)
The majority of coastal and ocean drowning deaths occurred                             The majority of coastal and ocean drowning deaths occurred at
while swimming/wading (n=43), boating and PWC (n=17),                                  a beach (n=71), rock/cliff (n=22) or an offshore location (n=18).
or watercraft (n=10).

                                              SURF LIFE SAVING AUSTR ALIA          40              NATIONAL COASTAL SAFET Y REPORT 2019
25
                                                                                           25

              20

              15                                                              16
                                                                                                                           13
                                                       12
 Number (n)

              10                                                                                          11
                                            9                                                                     8
              5                                                      6                                                                6             6
                    5          5

              0
                   July      August      September   October      November December      January      February   March    April      May           June

Figure 54
2018-19: COASTAL & OCEAN DROWNING DEATHS PER MONTH (n=122 )
Of the 122 coastal and ocean drowning deaths, 42% (n=52) happened over the summer months (Dec-Feb).
Dark-red squares indicate the 15-year average drowning deaths per month.

                        6%
                                                                                                    15%
                                                                                                                         22%

                   35%                                                                                    37%
                                                                                          7%
                                             35%

                   Less than                                                                              More than
 42%
                     1km                                                                                   50km                19%
                                                                                                                                           < 10 km
                                                        < 1km                                                                              10 - 50 km
                                   17%                  1 - 5km                                                                            > 50 km
                                                        > 5km                                         37%                                  International
                                                        Ocean                                                                              Unknown

Figure 55                                                                               Figure 56
2018–19: DISTANCE FROM DROWNING LOCATION                                                2018–19: DISTANCE FROM RESIDENCE
TO A LIFESAVING SERVICE (n=122)                                                         TO DROWNING LOCATION (n=122)
Forty-three individuals (35%) drowned within 1km of the nearest                         Twenty-seven individuals (22%) lived less than 10km from the
lifesaving service. Almost half (n=52, 42%) of incidents happened                       drowning location. Forty-five individuals (37%) lived more than
further than 5km from a lifesaving service.                                             50km from the incident location while nine individuals (7%) were
                                                                                        international visitors.

                                                       SECTION THREE               41               DROWNING ANALYSIS
DINSET:
                                       R OIndian
                                             WOcean
                                                 N ITerritories
                                                      N G L O C AT I O N S
                                           (Inset is same scale as main map)
                                                                               2 0 0 4 –19               3
                                                                                                                                                                                           2
                                                                                          3 50               Christmas
                                                                                                             Island                                            Ashmore   5
                                                                                                                                                                  Reef
                                                                                                                                                                                     2 2 2 3

 INSET: Indian Ocean Territories                                                                             3
 (Inset is same scale as main map)
                                                                   3

                                                                       Christmas
                                                     3 50
                                                                       Island

                                             Cocos (Keeling)
                                             Islands                           Christmas Island to Port Hedland
                                                                       3               approximately 1,800 km

                                                                                                                                  2
     Cocos (Keeling)
                                            Christmas Island to Port Hedland                                      2 2
     Islands
                                                    approximately 1,800 km

                                                                                              2
                                                                                                                                2 2

                                                                                        2 6
                                                                                        2 2
                                                                                          2

                                                                                          2
                                                                                        2 4
                                                                                                                                               260

                                                                                                   2 3

                                                                                                  2 2 3
                                                                                                                                      2
                                                                                                                                           2

                                                                                                                                               2 2
                                                                                                                                                3 2
                                       Key to Drowning Activity                                                  2 2 8
                                                                                                                 2 2 9
                                                                                                                                                 5 3

                                                                                                                   4 6                    PERTH        4 5 2
                                             Attempting a rescue                                                   2 2

                                                                                                                        2
Key to Drowning Activity                     Boating and PWC                                                                               2
                                                                                                                                                                  2
                                             Fall                                                                  2 3
     Attempting a rescue                                                                                                                                                         4

     Boating and PWC                             Jump                                                                       3

     Fall                                                                                                                        3
                                                 Land-based fishing                                                                                                2
     Jump                                                                                                                                                       7 2

     Land-based fishing                          Other
     Other
                                                 Rock fishing
     Rock fishing
     Scuba diving                                Scuba diving
     Snorkelling                                 Snorkelling
     Swimming/wading                                                                                                                                   0                                 1,00
     Unknown                                     Swimming/wading                                                                                                             SCALE
     Watercraft                                  Unknown
 4   Multiple instances per activity at the same location
     Capital city                                Watercraft
                                       4     Multiple instances per activity
                                             at the same location
Figure 57
                           CapitalBY
2004–19: COASTAL DROWNING DEATHS  cityACTIVITY

                                     SURF LIFE SAVING AUSTR ALIA                   42                NATIONAL COASTAL SAFET Y REPORT 2019
5                 2

                                                                                             3

 3

         DARWIN
3

     2

                                                                                                                                                   4

                                                                                                                                                   4
                                                                                                                                                   2
                                                                                                             4                               6
                                                                                                           2 9                                               7
                                                                                                               3
                                                                                                                                     2
                                                                                                                                                             4

                  41                                                                                                            3
                                                                                                                                                                             3

                                                                                                                                                                                                 3

                                                                                                                                                                     2
                                                                                                                                                                                                     4 2
                                                                                                                                     2

                                                                                                                                                                                     3                                 4

                                                                                                                                                                                                                           2

                                                                                             289                                                                                          2
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2
                                                                                                                                                                                                         6

                                                                                                                                                                                      2
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2

                                                                                                                                                                           3                                                         5
                                                                                                                                                                     2 2 3 7                                                         3
                                                                                                                                                                                 3 2
                                                                                                                                                                                 3 5                                                  3   3 2
                                                                                                                                                       2 4

                              117
                                                                                                                                                                                   2                                                  4   2
                                                                                                                                                                         2       BRISBANE                                             2
                                                                                                                                                                                 2 2 2 5 23                                          15       7
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      9       2 2
                                                                                                                                                                                                     2 7                              4
                                                                                                                                                                                                       5                             12   4
                                                                                                                                                                                         2 2                                          5   2
                                                                                                                                                                                             4                   2
                                                                                                                                                                                         3                                        2
                                                                                                                                                                         2 2 2                                                   10 2 2
                  2           2 2                                                                                                                                                                                              4 3
                                                3

                          2
                                                                                 616                                                                             2 2 3 7
                                                                                                                                                                    3
                                                                                                                                                                                                         4

                                                                                                                                                                                                 2                     2
                                            2                                                                                                       2 2 3                                                            3                              Lord Howe
                                                     2                                                                                           2 3 4                           3
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    5 2                               Island
                                                                                                                                              2 6 7                                                             4 10
                                                    11
                                                                                                                                             3 2 4                                                            10 2
                                                                                                                                                                                                             4 3 3 2
                      2
                                                    ADELAIDE                                                               2 2 2 4 5
                                                                                                                                                 SYDNEY                                                      5 4 2 2

                                        2
                                            2
                                                         10 3
                                                          4         244                                                            14
                                                                                                                               3 5 6
                                                                                                                                                                 2
                                                                                                                                                                                                                   13 9 2 2 2 2
                                                                                                                                                                                                                       25 20 16 6 5 4 4 4 3 2
                                                                    MELBOURNE                                  CANBERRA                                                                                                16 14 14 8 5 3
                                                                        2 3 7 7 14                                                       5                                                                              9 4 3
                               3            2                                                                                  2 2 4
                                                                               2                  2                                                                                                               3
                                6                        3                                                                                             2
                                                                                                 19 8 6 4 2                                                                                                      3 2
                                    2                                      2 3                                                                                                                               2
                                                                                                                                         2
                                                                                                                                                                                                     4
                                                                           5                             2                                                                        2
                                                3                                                        3 2
                                                                                                                           2                                         2
                                                                                     3
                                                                                                                               2
                                                     2 6 9                                                                     2
00km                                                            2                                                              5
                                                             2 2                                     7
                                                                        2
                                                             2 2 2 3 4 4 4
                                                                2 2 2 3 4 4
                                                                   2 2 2 2 3
                                                                                                                   2
                                                                                                                                     2

                                                                                         2
                                                                                                 81                    2

                                                                                 2
                                                                                         HOBART
                                                                                                                                    9
                                                                                             2                                      2 2
                                                                                                                                    3

                                                                                                                               2 4
D R O W N I N G V S F ATA L I T Y

C
          oastal drowning deaths have long held the focus of               fatalities occurred between 9am-4pm (53%, n=346) and during
          water safety research due to the severe, accidental and          December (13%, n=109). The highest number of unintentional
          preventable nature of the incidents. While drowning              coastal fatalities occurred while boating (32%) followed by
deaths make up the bulk of coastal fatalities, a significant               swimming/wading (11%) and watercraft (9%), which is similar
proportion of unintentional coastal fatalities are non-drowning            to drowning deaths (boating – 21%, swimming/wading – 30%,
related. These coastal fatalities include medical incidents,               watercraft – 7%). Medical episodes and injuries contributed
accidents, injuries, alcohol, drugs and marine creatures. From             to 658 (88%) unintentional coastal fatalities but only 442 of
an emergency service and rescue perspective, the response to               drowning deaths (33%). Toxicology data was available for 87%
drowning deaths and other coastal fatality incidents is similar but        of incidents (n=2,144) with alcohol and/or drugs contributing to
until now, most research has focused on drowning deaths. As a              109 coastal fatalities (15%) and 315 of drowning deaths (19%).
result, there has been a lack of understanding to the number of            Marine creatures accounted for 29 (4%) coastal fatalities and no
fatal incidents faced by lifesavers and emergency services and             drowning deaths, while rip currents were known to contribute to
therefore the impact this has on first responders.                         315 drowning deaths (25%) compared to seven coastal
  This research aims to assess the frequency and nature of non-            fatalities (1%).
drowning coastal fatalities compared to drowning deaths and                  Drowning deaths and coastal fatalities are both increasing
provide an overview of all fatalities that occur in Australian waters.     at beaches, coastal fatalities are increasing at rock/cliff
Using coronial data, the SurfGuard Incident Report Database                environments while drowning deaths remained stable (Figure
(IRD) and media articles a dataset of non-drowning coastal                 65). Swimming/wading incidents are increasing, while boating
fatalities was collated and compared to Surf Life Saving Australia’s       fatalities are decreasing over time (Figure 64). Australian born
national database of drowning deaths. These databases were                 individuals accounted for over half of all incidents, followed by
extended to include Australian governed waters including                   people born in Asia then Europe (Figure 66). For cases involving
sovereign waters (including the Australian Fishing and Exclusive           Australian residents, 34% of drowning deaths and 26% of coastal
Economic Zones) and our external territories.                              fatalities were born overseas (Figure 67).
  Between 2004 and 2019, 42% of all fatalities on the Australian             This research highlights the extent to which coastal fatalities
coast were not drowning-related (n=1,230). Two-thirds of these             on top of drowning deaths impact on lifesaving services and the
other coastal fatalities were unintentional (n=830). Some states           wider community. Further investigation will align causal factors
(NT, Qld, SA) showed that these unintentional coastal fatalities           with potential interventions and safety campaigns in addition to
occur more or as frequently than drowning deaths (Figure 58).              how we can better equip our frontline people to manage these
Males accounted for 88% of unintentional fatalities, of which              tragic situations.
44% were between 45-64 years of age. Most unintentional

                        Medical                             Medical & Injury                           Injury
 DROWNING DEATH               FATALITY              DROWNING DEATH     FATALITY             DROWNING DEATH     FATALITY

 22%                                                2%                                      9%
                          Marine
                          Creatures
                          DROWNING
                                                           Rip
                                                       Current
                                                         DROWNING
                                                                         Alcohol
                                                                            DROWNING        Drugs
                                                                                                         8%
                                                                                                         DROWNING DEATH    FATALITY
                          DEATH                             DEATH              DEATH

                          0%
                          FATALITY
                                                   25% 8%   FATALITY          FATALITY
                                                                                            Both Alcohol & Drugs
                                                                                                         DROWNING DEATH    FATALITY

                                                                                                         6%
                                     SURF LIFE SAVING AUSTR ALIA       44           NATIONAL COASTAL SAFET Y REPORT 2019
SNAPSHOT
                                                           2 0 0 4 -2 019

INDIAN OCEAN TERRITORIES
         Christmas Islands
     Cocos (Keeling) Islands
                                                                                                                   TORRES STRAIT
                      17%

                            83%                                                                                    26%
                                                                                                                       74%
        Australian mainland
          approx. 1,600km

                                                                            42%
                                                                      58%

                                                                                                   51% 49%

                                       48%
                                               52%

                                                                         50% 50%

                                                                                                       38%
                                                                                                             62%

                                                                                   35%
                                                                                         65%                        43%
                                                                                                                          57%

     93%

                      77%

                                               13%                                             Drowning death
                                                                10%                            Other fatality
                                  4%                  3%
                                                                                          0                               1,000km

            Coastal                    Ocean          Sovereign Waters                                 SCALE

Figure 58
PERCENTAGE OF DROWNING DEATHS AND OTHER
FATALITIES IN DIFFERENT AQUATIC ZONES
U N I N T E N T I O N A L C O A S TA L F ATA L I T I E S
                                                                     2 0 0 4 -19: 15 -Y E A R R E V I E W

                                                                                                                               Female
             80                                                                                                                Male                                       0.40
                                                  75
             70                                               68                                                65
                              61                                       62                            62                   63                                              0.32
                    60

                                                                                                                                                                                 Rate (per 100,000 pop.)
             60
                                                                                           55
             50                                                                                                                                         48
Number (n)

                                                                                                                                                                          0.24
                                        43                                       43                                                           43                  42
                                                                                                                                    40
             40
                                                                                                                                                                          0.16
             30

             20
                                                                                                                                                                          0.08
             10

              0                                                                                                                                                           0.00
                  2004-05   2005-06   2006-07   2007-08    2008-09   2009-10   2010-11   2011-12   2012-13    2013-14   2014-15   2015-16   2016-17   2017-18   2018-19

Figure 59
2004-19: NATIONAL 15-YEAR TREND OF UNINTENTIONAL COASTAL FATALITIES
National unintentional coastal fatality numbers and crude rates for 2004-19 are illustrated above. Unintentional coastal fatalities
include deaths other than drowning deaths (such as medical incidents, accidents, or marine creature), excluding homicide and
self-harm related incidents.

                            Swimming/Wading                                                                      Attempting a Rescue
                            2004-19                       2018-19                                                2004-19                        2018-19

                            6                             8                                                      1                              0
                            Boating & PWC                                                                        Scuba Diving
                            2004-19                       2018-19                                                2004-19                        2018-19

                            18                            9                                                      3                              4
                            Watercraft                                                                           Snorkelling
                            2004-19                       2018-19                                                2004-19                        2018-19

                            5                             4                                                      3                              3
                            Rock Fishing                                                                         Non-aquatic Transport
                            2004-19                       2018-19                                                2004-19                        2018-19

                            1                             0                                                      5                              4
Figure 60
2004-19: 15-YEAR AVERAGE COMPARED TO 2018-19 UNINTENTIONAL FATALITIES BY ACTIVITY
Nationally, the number of activity types being undertaken when unintentional fatalities occur varies over time. In 2018-19, the number of
coastal fatalities while swimming/wading and scuba diving were above the 15-year average, while boating and PWC, watercraft, rock fishing,
attempting a rescue and non-aquatic transport related incidents were below the 15-year average. The number of unintentional fatalities while
snorkelling is equal with the 15-year average.

                                                 SURF LIFE SAVING AUSTR ALIA               46                NATIONAL COASTAL SAFET Y REPORT 2019
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