16% rise in the number of drowning deaths

A SPIKE in the number of drowning deaths this summer has prompted a warning ahead of Australia Day.

Figures released by the Royal Life Saving Society of Australia show 59 people have died in Australian waterways since December - a 16% rise on the same time last year.

Men were most at risk, accounting for 80% of all drowning deaths recorded across summer.

Inland waterways such as rivers and dams claimed the most lives, followed by beaches and harbour locations.

Royal Life Saving CEO Justin Scarr urged people to swim responsibly.

"Tragically, so far this summer we have seen 59 drowning deaths, including 10 on public holidays," Mr Scarr said.

"We urge everyone cel-ebrating this Australia Day to take care, avoid unnecessary risks and be safe around the water."



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