Young Aussie men most likely to drown

Australian men overestimate their abilities in the water, putting themselves at risk of drowning.
Australian men overestimate their abilities in the water, putting themselves at risk of drowning.

Young Australian men taking risks and overestimating their abilities are continuing to put themselves at risk of drowning, a new report says.

Males accounted for 80 per cent of the 248 drownings across Australia in the 12 months to June.

Men aged 25 to 34 were the most at risk, the Royal Life Saving Society and Surf Life Saving Australia said on Friday, with the use of alcohol and drugs and absence of safety precautions a key factor.

The number of overall drownings fell by eight per cent for the year.

But Royal Life Saving chief executive Justin Scarr said too many lives were still being lost on the water.

"Men taking risks and overestimating abilities continues to be our greatest challenge," he said.

"We urge men to look out for your mates while holidaying, camping and boating on rivers and lakes."

Nationally there were 82 drownings in inland waterways, 45 on beaches, 41 offshore and 26 at rock or cliff locations.

A further 28 people drowned in swimming pools.

Mr Scarr said an overall 52 per cent decrease in deaths of children under five was encouraging, but urged parents not to be complacent.

"Check your pool fence and gate, and always keep watch," he said.

Surf Life Saving chief Adam Weir said men not wearing life jackets continued to be over-represented in drowning statistics.

"For those boating, rock fishing and on watercraft the message is simple: please wear a lifejacket - it could save your life," he said.

People are also urged to be careful at the beach, with rip currents contributing to a quarter of coastal drownings since 2004.

KEY RECOMMENDATIONS

* Supervise children at all times in, on and around water

* Learn swimming, water safety and lifesaving skills

* Wear a lifejacket when boating, rock fishing or paddling

* Swim at a patrolled beach between the red and yellow flags

* Avoid alcohol and drugs around water

Australian Associated Press