Social impact

aquatic teacher with children in pool 1

The issue

43 people drowned in Victoria between July 2015 and June 2016. That’s 43 too many. Another 70 people has their lives seriously impacted by non-fatal drowning incidents of ‘near misses’, and with these figures rising year on year – action is needed.

The facts 

  • 43% of drowning death are attributed to unintentional water entry. This is when a person slips of falls into the water.
  • 33% increase in the drowning rate of females.
  • 40% increase in the fatal drowning rate of those aged 65 years and over.
  • An 8% increase in the fatal drowning rate of children aged 0-4 years, compared with the 10-year average.
  • The top three activities that people were doing prior to drowning were swimming/paddling/ wading (26%, 11), followed by boating (19%, 8), and walking/playing near water (14%, 6).                 
  • 60% of children leaving primary school are unable to swim 50m continuously.
  • Victoria has the lowest reporting swimming and water safety competency rates in Australia.
  • No action to date on Coronial Recommendation made in June 2015 “Swimming and water safety education should be a compulsory skill taught within the primary school curriculum to all Victorian children.” 

Source: Life Saving Victoria Victorian Drowning Report 2015/16 

Change we are seeking

We need to ensure every Victorian child is given opportunity to learn survival swimming and water safety skills - regardless of location, physical capability, cultural background and socio-economic circumstances. 

We are thrilled the Victorian Government has taken action to reduce the drowning toll by including swimming and water safety in new Victorian Curriculum from 2017.

YMCA Victoria is the largest provider of swimming lessons in the state, and provides thousands of Victorians in need access to our aquatic programs for free. Find out more about our swimming lessons program.