1 in 4 drowning deaths off Aussie beaches are in young men

Embargoed until: Publicly released:
Peer-reviewed: This work was reviewed and scrutinised by relevant independent experts.

Observational study: A study in which the subject is observed to see if there is a relationship between two or more things (eg: the consumption of diet drinks and obesity). Observational studies cannot prove that one thing causes another, only that they are linked.

People: This is a study based on research using people.

Young men make up a quarter of drowning deaths off Aussie beaches, and researchers say the data suggests they may be overestimating their swimming ability or engaging in risky behaviour like jumping into the water without precaution. The study found young men are more likely to drown while jumping or swimming and wading in coastal waterways, especially at rocky or cliff locations, than other adults. They are also more likely to drown under the influence of illicit drugs, particularly amphetamines and cannabis.

Journal/conference: Injury Prevention

Link to research (DOI): 10.1136/injuryprev-2020-043969

Organisation/s: Surf Life Saving Australia

Funder: This research is supported by the Surf Life Saving Australia to aid in the reduction of drowning. Research at the Surf Life Saving Australia is supported in part by the Australian Government.


  • The BMJ
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