Inland Waterways Drowning Prevention

Image of a river with trees along the banks









Rivers, lakes, creeks, streams and dams account for a significant proportion of Western Australian and Australian drownings. There is a strong need for an understanding of individual use of these waterways to identify risky behaviours and target prevention initiatives appropriately.

Our research

An observational study was conducted in partnership with Lifesaving Victoria to assess and compare use of the Swan River in Perth and the Yarra River in Melbourne. These waterways sustain a consistent and relatively high frequency of drowning events, however little is known about the methods that can reduce personal risk.

It is necessary to assess the true drowning risk characteristics of Australian rivers, and information is required about human use of these environments including patterns of exposure to risk factors.

Direct observation and recording of behaviours was undertaken at a total of six river locations in Perth and Melbourne in 2017. Data was collected on overall river usage, along with individual behaviours including activity, risk-taking behaviour (alcohol consumption, lifejacket usage) and supervision of children. 

Data will be compared between the diverse Swan and Yarra rivers to compare exposure to water and drowning risk factors. This information will inform targeted countermeasures aimed at reducing this tragic and preventable loss of life.


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

First Aid Kit With Items

Great Deals on First Aid Kits!

Find the right first aid kit for your lifestyle.

View products button