Surf Life Saving Report records seven drownings in South West and Great Southern

Report records increase in drownings

With seven drownings recorded in the South West and Great Southern for 2019/20, the Royal Life Saving Society and Surf Life Saving Australia are urging people to change their water behaviour.

National figures were published by the water safety bodies on September 18 and showed that WA's overall drowning numbers rose by 14 per cent compared to the previous year.

The statistics mean that tragically 33 people lost their lives, with men continuing to be over represented.

This includes the Singaporean student Heng Yi Goh who went missing on June 29 after a huge swell washed him off the rocks and he was found days later near Wyadup Rocks in Yallingup.

As published in the Royal Life Saving National Drowning Report 2020 and Surf Life Saving National Coastal Safety Report 2020, the research findings also highlight:

  • 67 per cent of WA drownings were male
  • Research shows that risk taking, use of alcohol and drugs, and the absence of appropriate safety precautions including lifejackets are key factors in male drowning.

Royal Life Saving chief executive officer Justin Scarr said the report was a sobering reminder that while Australians love the water, too many lives were lost.

"Men taking risks and overestimating abilities continues to be our greatest challenge," he said.

"We urge men to look out for your mates, while holidaying, camping and boating on rivers and lakes".

Surf Life Saving Australia chief executive officer Adam Weir said the report highlighted the importance of being aware of your actions and decisions around water.

"Swimming at unpatrolled locations, alcohol and drugs, and not wearing a lifejacket, are key contributors to why we continue to see men over represented in our drowning statistics," he said.

"For those boating, rock fishing and on watercraft the message is simple - please wear a lifejacket - it could save your life."

To stay safe around water, Royal Life Saving and Surf Life Saving urge all Australians to:

  • Supervise children at all times in, on and around water
  • Learn swimming, water safety and lifesaving skills
  • Wear a lifejacket when boating, rock fishing or paddling
  • Swim at a patrolled beach between the red and yellow flags
  • Avoid alcohol and drugs around water