As the school holidays draw to a close the National Sea Rescue Institute has looked at the drowning statistics from the NSRI stations around the country for the period 1 December 2014 to 14 January 2015.  During the festive season NSRI rescue crews responded to 144 calls for help, and rescued 151 people. 40 boats were assisted.

In incidents that NSRI responded to, there were a total of 31 fatal drowning incidents (19 adults and 12 children). Rip currents were the greatest risk to bathers, claiming the lives of 9 people ( 5 of whom were children). The greatest risk to children was being near water, unsupervised. NSRI responded to 6 fatal drownings in fresh water (3 of whom were children).

Compared to the same period last year the drownings because of rip currents are lower. There were 9 fatal drownings this year versus 13 in rip currents for last December / January. "The number of fatal drownings for the past two years is similar when looked at nationally. The most heartening thing for us this year, is that fatalities from people caught in rip currents is lower than last year. We hope that the intensive education that we did throughout the year had something to do with this,” said NSRI CEO Dr Cleeve Robertson.

"NSRI’s WaterWise Academy has taught over 620 000 children how to avoid danger, what to do in an emergency, who to call for help and how to do bystander CPR. We hope that this year the department of education will consider including water safety and CPR in the LO curriculum,” said Dr Robertson.

The NSRI statistics can be downloaded for media use here:

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