Inland Waterways Drowning Prevention

Image of a river with trees along the banks

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rivers, lakes, creeks, streams and dams account for a significant proportion of Western Australian and Australian drownings. There is a strong need for an understanding of individual use of these waterways to identify risky behaviours and target prevention initiatives appropriately.

Our research

We are in the process of conducting an observational study with Lifesaving Victoria to assess use of the Swan River in Perth and the Yarra River in Melbourne. These waterways sustain a consistent and relatively high frequency of drowning events, however little is known about the methods that can reduce personal risk.

It is necessary to assess the true drowning risk characteristic of Australian rivers, and information is required about human use of these environments including patterns of exposure to risk factors.

Recorded behaviour data obtained through a survey will support direct observation at selected river locations (captured through unidentifiable photography). Data will be compared between the diverse Swan and Yarra rivers to compare exposure to water and drowning risk factors.

This information will inform targeted countermeasures aimed at reducing this tragic and preventable loss of life.

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