This report relies on information from 276 drowning incidents (both fatal and non fatal) gathered from coronial findings, police and DHB incident reports.
We categorised each case according to the nature of the incident; preventable fatality, or hospitalisation, age, gender and ethnicity of the victim and nature and cause of the incident, including activity and environment and a host of other factors.
Behind the scenes we analyse the data to look for significant groupings of incidents with similar characteristics that might reveal some underlying cause to the incident.
In 2020 there were 74 recreational (intending to be in the water) and non-recreational (no intention of being in the water) preventable drowning fatalities.
2020 saw a decrease of eight, or 9.7%, compared to the 82 preventable drowning fatalities in 2019 with zero preventable drowning fatalities in the months of April and September (Level 4 lockdown nationally, and Level 3 Auckland/Level 2 other regions, respectively).
On a per capita basis, the preventable fatal drowning rate is represented as 1.62 per 100,000 people in New Zealand. This rate has been steady for the past five years.
Rivers (24) and Beaches (23) make up 47 of the 74 preventable fatal drownings, or 64%.
Swimming (21) and Underwater Diving (12) make up 33 of the 54 preventable fatal recreational drownings, or 61%.
In 2020 there were 202 recreational (intending to be in the water) and non-recreational (no intention of being in the water) drowning hospitalisations.
Beginning of 2020, hospitalisations were tracking similarly to 2014-2018 five year average (181). In April (Level 4 lockdown) there were only three hospitalisations compared with five year average of 13. In September (Auckland Level 3/other regions Level 2) there were seven which is down on the five year average of 11. However, over the 12 month period there were the same number of hospitalisations as 2019. Just over half of all hospitalisations involve young people under 24 years of age (107).
On a per capita basis, the hospitalisation drowning rate is represented as 3.77 per 100,000 people in New Zealand. This rate has been steady for the past five years.
A third of hospitalisations were incidents occurring in the sea (75), following by 43 in pools (21%) then at rivers (35 or 17%).
Swimming (83) makes up 41% of hospitalisations followed by boating incidents (37 or 18%) and falls and slips (24 or 12%) with half of these incidents involving children under five years of age.
ISSN 2463-4441 (Print), ISSN 2463-445X (Online)