River Safety Facts

Western Australian Drowning Statistics:

  • Just over one quarter (28%) of all drowning deaths in Western Australia in 2016/17 occurred in rivers, lakes, streams
  • This figure is 23% greater than that of 2015/16
  • Those aged 25-24 or 35-44 are more likely to drown in an inland waterway than any other age group
  • The highest rate is recorded in Kimberley, Pilbara and South West regions. 
  • Males are more likely to drown in inland waterways than females
  • The most common activity before drowning was recreating around water, followed by swimming and then boating


Popular Inland Waterway recreation locations in WA:

  • Perth - Swan and Canning River
  • South West - Blackwood River and Margaret River
  • Pilbara - Port Hedland and Dampier


What makes these locations dangerous?

  • Sudden changes in water depth - shallow to deep water without warning
  • Currents 
  • Hidden, submerged objects - sticks, rocks
  • Cold water - even in summer, shaded pools and rivers can be icy cold
  • Dynamic nature - can change with winds or rain
  • Uneven river banks - easy to accidentally fall in


Who to call if you need help?

  • 000 - fire, ambulance - emergency only
  • 9442 8600 - water police
  • 0419 192 845 - Swan and Canning river park (Duty officer)
  • 9474 9055 - wildcare helpline


FACT: Inland waterways are great places to recreate nearby, swim in, boat on or enjoy - and we're here to help keep you safe!


 Inland Waterway drownings 2016/2017





 For more information check out our fact sheets

Contact us button