SOMEONE is almost certain to drown on the Mornington Peninsula this summer. Coupled with this, there’s an 88 per cent likelihood of one or more peninsula residents drowning in any one year.
On the peninsula, males are 6.3 times more likely to drown than females.
This is the alarming scenario painted by the Life Saving Victoria Drowning Report 2016-17 which shows a “99 per cent likelihood of one or more drownings occurring on the Mornington Peninsula in any given year”.
There were six drownings on the peninsula in the past year.
The report says that in the decade to 2016, 44 people drowned on the peninsula with 58 residents being hospitalised after non-fatal incidents involving water.
In that same time, 21 peninsula residents drowned elsewhere in Victoria while 84 others were taken to emergency departments.
The report shows that 45 people (78 per cent male) drowned in Victoria in the 2016-17 financial year – up 20 per cent on the 10-year average.
In the same timeframe the report also reveals a six per cent rise in drownings for children aged up to four; a 25 per cent rise for those aged 15-24; an 18 per cent rise for 25-44 year olds; and a 45 per cent rise for those aged 65 and over.
While children face the greatest risk of drowning, adults aged 65-plus had the highest age-specific rate of drownings in 2016-17.
Males are four times more likely to drown than females.
There was a 25 per cent rise in drownings for those aged 15-24, an 18 per cent rise in the drownings for those aged 25-44 and a 45 per cent rise for those aged 65 years and over.
Most drownings last year occurred while people were swimming, paddling or wading (29 per cent), walking or playing near water (18 per cent) or using pools or spas (11 per cent).
This year six people who drowned in Victoria had foreign backgrounds (13 per cent) down 15 per cent on the 10-year average. These figures may be even higher, as in the study period country of birth or ethnicity was unknown in 68 per cent of drownings.
Slipping or falling into water accounted for 40 per cent of drownings last year, up 46 per cent over the past decade, with an average of 12 deaths a year from 2006-16.
Alcohol is a common factor in drowning, representing 22 per cent of yearly tolls over the past decade (an average of nine deaths a year). As in previous years, nine people died in 2016-17 when they drank alcohol before swimming, representing 20 per cent of total drownings.