The number of people drowning in rivers and creeks has jumped by almost 50 per cent in the last year, a new report has revealed.

There were 339 drowning deaths across the country in the past 12 months, according to the Royal Life Saving National Drowning Report, a 15 per cent increase on the previous year.

The number of old and young people drowning has almost jumped up, with a 36 per cent increase in the number of school age children and a 35 per cent increase in people aged over 65 drowning.

Alison Mahony, principal research and policy officer at Royal Life Saving, says young men are particularly at risk of drowning.

  • Rivers and creeks recorded the largest number of drowning deaths (34%), followed by beaches (21%) and ocean/harbour locations (13%)
  • Swimming and recreating accounted for 22% of drowning deaths, followed by boating (14%) and falls into water (13%)
  • 13% of drowning deaths were flood-related
  • Drowning deaths occurred in all seasons, with the largest number occurring in the summer months (43%)
  • Most of those who drowned were not visitors (75%), that is, they drowned within 100km of where they lived