The Reason

aerial view of Lake Argyle 

The statistics on drowning deaths and non-fatal drowning incidents in the Kimberley 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 20 drowning deaths in the Kimberley region, while 28 people were hospitalised following a non-fatal drowning incident.

Recreating was the top activity which led to these incidents (40%) followed by swimming (20%) and diving (10%). The top locations where these incidents took place were:

  • Rivers/creeks/streams (55%)
  • Lakes/dams/lagoons (15%)

Contributing factors were:

  • Environmental factors / weather conditions (40%)
  • Alcohol (40%)
  • Participating alone (40%)

The most common shires where drowning incidents occurred were the Shire of Wyndham-East Kimberley, the Shire of Broome and the Shire of Halls Creek.

35% of those who drowned were Aboriginal, the largest proportion of any other region.

Of the incidents involving consumption of alcohol (40%), the average blood alcohol reading was more than three times the legal limit for driving (0.168%).

Priority areas for drowning prevention include:

  • Males - are almost three times more likely to drown than females in the Kimberley region
  • Toddlers aged 0-4 years
  • People swimming and recreating around inland waterway locations
  • Water safety in remote or very remote areas of the Kimberley - 100% of drowning happened in these areas
  • High-risk communities (Aboriginal, born overseas and low socio-economic)
  • Alcohol-related drowning

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

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