The Reason

Esperance shoreline

The statistics on drowning deaths and non-fatal drowning incidents in the Goldfields-Esperance region are concerning and have raised awareness about the need for greater water safety education and training in the region.

Between 2009 – 2019 there were 17 drowning deaths in the Goldfields region, which was the 6th highest drowning rate in WA. A further 23 people were hospitalised following a non-fatal drowning incident.

Swimming was the top activity which led to these incidents (35%), followed by fishing (23%) and recreating (12%). The top locations where these incidents took place were:

  • Ocean/harbour (35%)
  • Beach (29%)
  • Home Pool (12%)

Contributing factors were:

  • Remote or very remote locations (82%)
  • Environmental factors e.g. poor weather/water conditions (60%)
  • Inexperience or unfamiliarity with location (47%)
  • Consumption of alcohol (41%)

Of the incidents where alcohol was a contributing factor, the average blood-alcohol concentration was more than three times the legal limit for driving (0.155%).

The Shire of Esperance was the most common area where drowning incidents occurred. 75% of those who drowned were male.

More than half of fatal drownings involved a tourist or visitor to the area.

Priority areas for drowning prevention include:

  • Males - are 2.5 times more likely to drown than females in the Goldfields-Esperance region
  • Toddlers aged 0-4 years
  • People swimming alone
  • Water safety in remote or very remote areas 
  • Alcohol-related drowning

You can download our snapshot of drowning data in the Goldfields region below.

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