Safety & Rescue Services

Coastal Drowning and Injury Stats

The Surf Life Saving WA Coastal Safety Report is produced annually, analysing a range of data sources to provide an overview of coastal drowning deaths, hospitalisations and lifesaving patrol information in WA.

The report:

  • aims to inform coastal safety stakeholders of coastal drowning history and trends and provides an evidence base for future decision making; 
  • identifies current and future risk factors for coastal drowning deaths in WA and provides an outline of recommendations to guide future drowning prevention efforts of all WA water safety agencies; and
  • provides an overview of coastal drowning and injury data, and lifesaving services for the surf life saving season between 1 May and 30 April.


2013/2014 Coastal Drowning Snapshot


  • 17 coastal drowning deaths
  • 30% increase over the seven year average of 13


  • 88% were male
  • 70.5% were aged 25 to 54
  • 35% were known to have an overseas nationality 


  • 41% occurred in autumn
  • 64.7% occurred in the afternoon


  • 29.4% were rock fishing
  • 23.5% were diving or snorkelling
  • 23.5% were boating

Contributing Factors

  • 29.4% were attributed to rip currents


  • 82% were in regional or remote areas of Western Australia
  • All cases occurred in areas that surf lifesavers were not present


Health Promotion and Research

Surf Life Saving WA's Health Promotion and Research Department was established in 2012 to reduce coastal drowning deaths in WA. The department manages a number of injury prevention, community safety projects and research related services and these aim to strengthen Surf Life Saving WA’s relationship with the community, build capacity and partnerships to continue to provide safe and enjoyable experiences for people visiting the WA coast. Find out more.


In response to the increasing rate of coastal drowning deaths in WA, and in accordance to the findings made by the SLSWA Health Promotion and Research Department, Surf Life Saving WA launched BeachSAFE, a coastal aquatic safety initiative. Find out more.

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