Across Australia in the 2015-16 financial year 95 people aged 55 and over lost their life to drowning.  That represented 34% of all drowning deaths across the nation. 

With so much life ahead, drowning in people over 55 is a preventable tragedy so we're promoting 5 key messages to help prevent drowning in this demographic.

  1. Know your limitations - Some people get into trouble around water and don’t have the physical fitness to get themselves out of it. Regularly keeping track and knowing your fitness levels are crucial ways to prevent drowning.
  2. Be aware of medical conditions - Medical conditions (including cardiac, dementia and seizures) and medications you are taking can affect your abilities in the water. It’s important to be conscious of these conditions, before going near the water.
  3. No alcohol around water - Alcohol and water don’t mix, particularly when other medications are also being consumed.
  4. Wear a lifejacket - Far too many drownings occur in people aged over 55 while boating or fishing. A large number of these drowning deaths could have been prevented if the boaters and fishers had worn a lifejacket. You wouldn’t drive without a seatbelt, so why would you go out on the water without a lifejacket when boating or fishing.
  5. Learn lifesaving skills - Being empowered with the skills to handle a range of water emergencies is a great way to prevent drowning. Royal Life Saving has a number of programs for people over 55 to enjoy including:
  • Grey Medallion - The Grey Medallion program is a water safety and lifesaving skills initiative for older adults. It aims to encourage a healthy, independent and active lifestyle through the development of essential skills in order to participate in aquatic recreation activities safely. This practical program provides older adults with personal survival techniques, improved swimming skills, skills to deal with emergency situations and a thorough understanding of water safety knowledge in order to reduce the likelihood of drowning.
  • First Aid and Resuscitation - Gain the knowledge and skills to administer first aid until medical help arrives. Anyone at any time may need to give urgent assistance and a Royal Life Saving First Aid and / or Resuscitation Course will equip you with the necessary skills.
  • Adult Learn To Swim - Contact your local public pool for information about classes.