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drowning deaths are 20 times higher over Easter, than that of other public holidays.

The warning comes off the back of a deadly summer which saw 70 lives lost on the Australian coastline, an 11 per cent increase on the 10-year average and nine per cent from the 2019-20 summer.

“Traditionally the Easter Long weekend and school holidays are a time when we see a lot of activity at our beaches and while for most, it will be an enjoyable time with family or friends, history tells us that for too many, it ends in tragedy.” Daw said.

“Our research shows that the Easter long weekend has recorded the most coastal drowning deaths of all public holidays nationally, with 24% of public holiday coastal drowning deaths occurring over the Easter long weekend.

The deadliest Easter coastal activities are boating, swimming and rock fishing, while falls and rescue incidents are also prominent with males accounting for 94 per cent of drowning deaths over the Easter long weekend, with 54 per cent of males, aged 20-39.

“The hard-hitting truth is that the risk of coastal drowning is 20 times higher for the Easter long weekend, so we are urging all beach-goers, but particularly males, to stay safe and swim between the flags at a patrolled location and plan ahead for all water activities,” added Daw.

“If you are going rock fishing, boating or on watercraft, check the conditions ahead of time, wear a life jacket and avoid alcohol and drugs”.

Surf lifesavers provide over 1.4 million volunteer patrol hours each year to keep Australia’s coastline safe and perform more than 10,000 rescues annually.

Surf Life Saving Australia urges all heading to the coast this Easter long-weekend to consider the following as part of their STOP, LOOK and PLAN process:

  • Where possible, swim at a patrolled beach, between the red and yellow flags
  • Obey the safety signs at the beach
  • Learn how to identify a rip current and look for rip currents before deciding where to swim
  • If you’re not sure, ask a lifesaver or lifeguard about the beach conditions
  • Wear a lifejacket while boating, rock fishing or paddling
  • Don’t go into or on the ocean during severe weather warnings
  • Take personal responsibility, think twice and assess your safety before entering the water
  • Supervise children at all times in, on and around water.

For the latest safety information – including patrolled beach locations – visit

*Note: 2020/21 figures shown are derived from media reports with some details to be confirmed with the coronial database. As such, they should be considered interim, pending the outcome of ongoing coronial investigations. Other figures are derived from coronial reports.

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