image of The Gap at Albany in WA


Drowning incidents in WA’s Great Southern region have highlighted the need for increased water safety education and training.

Between 2009-2019 there were 53 drowning incidents recorded in the Great Southern. 27 were fatal, with a further 26 people hospitalised following a non-fatal drowning incident. The region had the fourth highest drowning rate in WA.

The top locations where incidents took place were:

  • Ocean/Harbour (52%)
  • Beach (18%)
  • River/Creek/Stream (15%)

Fishing was the top activity which led to these incidents
(41%), followed by Watercraft (11%) and Recreating (11%).

Contributing factors included: 

  • Inexperience/unfamiliarity with location (63%)
  • Environmental factors - weather/water conditions (56%)
  • Poor swimming ability (30%)
  • Participating alone (30%)

75% of those who drowned in the Great Southern were male
, with males almost three times more likely to drown than females.

Just under half (48%) of fatal drownings involved a tourist or visitor to the area, which is higher than overall state trends.

The Shire of Jerramungup was the local area with the highest rate of drowning incidents.

Download our snapshot of drowning data in the Great Southern below.

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