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 2008 – 2018 there were 21 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 (29%).The top locations where the above incidents took place were:

- Rivers/creeks/streams (43%)

- Lakes/dams/lagoons (29%)

Contributing factors were:

- Tourist/visitor (43%)

- Alcohol (52%)

- Born overseas (33%)

The most common towns where fatal drowning incidents occurred were Kununurra, Broome, Kalumburu and Fitzroy Crossing.

33% of those involved in a drowning incident were Aboriginal.

Of those visiting the region who were involved in a drowning incident, one third were international visitors, one third were interstate visitors and the remaining third were people travelling within WA.

Of those born overseas who were involved in a drowning incident, 57% were from a non-English-speaking background.


Priority areas for drowning prevention include:

  • Males - they are 8.6 times more likely to drown that females in the Kimberley region
  • Young people aged 15-24 years
  • People swimming and recreating around inland waterway locations
  • Tourist and visitor safety while visiting the region
  • High-risk communities (Aboriginal, born overseas and low socio-economic)
  • Alcohol-related drowning