The Reason

oyster stacks

The statistics on drowning deaths and non-fatal drowning incidents in the Mid West and Gascoyne region of WA are extremely concerning, highlighting the need for greater water safety education and training in the region.

Between 2009-2019 there were 89 drowning incidents recorded in the Mid West/Gascoyne region. There were 41 drowning deaths, and another 48 people hospitalised following a non-fatal drowning incident. The region had the highest drowning rate in WA, at a rate of 13.4 drownings per 100,000 people.

The top activities which led to these incidents were:

  • Diving (34%)
  • Boating (24%)
  • Watercraft (17%)

Most incidents took place at the ocean/harbour (49%) and beach (42%). A smaller number occurred at rivers/creeks/streams (4.9%) and other locations.

Contributing factors were:

  • Remote or very remote locations (83%)
  • Inexperience or unfamiliarity with location (51%)
  • Environmental factors e.g. poor weather/water conditions (44%)
  • Participating alone (24%)

Of the incidents where alcohol was a contributing factor, the average blood-alcohol concentration was more than three times the legal limit for driving (0.172%).

The Shire of Exmouth was the top local area where drowning incidents occurred (38%). 72% of those who drowned were male.

The majority of incidents involved people born in Australia (76.4%), however many of these people were visiting the area as a tourist. Visitors/tourists accounted for 70.7% of fatal drownings, almost double the state trend. 

Priority areas for drowning prevention include:

  • Males they are 2.3 times more likely to drown than females in the Mid West and Gascoyne region
  • Toddlers aged 0-4 years
  • Adults aged 55 and over
  • People swimming alone
  • Water safety in remote or very remote areas 

You can download our snapshot of drowning data in the Mid West (including Gascoyne) region below.

Download button


Get your Bronze

Four young persons at the swimming pool with lifesaving equipment

Bronze Medallion courses are regularly conducted throughout the year. Find a course near you.

Read more button

Lifeguards working at a swimming pool

Pool Lifeguard

Learn how to become a Pool Lifeguard. You can start a career or a summer job.

Read more button

A group of aboriginal youth in the pool with their trainer at Jigalong

Jump Into Our Talent Pool!

Talent Pool is an initiative that provides Indigenous Youth with aquatic work skills!

Explore more button