Ensuring care by the water is the key message from Life Saving Victoria after data showed accidental slips and trips accounting for almost half of Victorian drowning deaths in the past year.
Life Saving Victoria has renewed its warnings to play it safe this summer on the back of Victoria's highest drowning toll in 20 years.
The Bendigo region has seen seven drowning deaths in the past 10 years with children aged between zero and four and adults aged over 65 accounting for most deaths. Men are now seven times more likely to drown in the Bendigo region than women.
Statewide, males are four times more likely to drown than females.
Life Saving Victoria research manager Rhiannon Birch said there was a 49 per cent increase for people drowning in inland waterways across the state, many whom did not intend to enter the water.
"Accidental entry from slips, trips and falls were the most common activity prior to drowning, representing almost half (46 per cent) of last year's drowning deaths," Ms Birch said.
"We're also seeing a trend from recent years continue - older adults are more likely to drown than children.
"The report shows a 71 per cent increase in the drowning rate for those aged 65 years and over compared to the 10-year average, while adults 45-64 had the second highest drowning rate of all age groups."
As residents plan their annual beach holidays in the Christmas-New Year period, they are warned there was also a dramatic 46 per cent spike in deaths in the state's oceans and coastal waterways last summer.
"Two thirds of Victoria's drowning deaths took place in summer and autumn last year and both of these seasons saw large increases in the drowning rate compared to the five-year average," Ms Birch said.
"We urge all Victorians to play it safe by the water by always swimming between the flags, always actively supervising children around water, learning swimming and water safety skills and remembering you are never too old to learn and refresh your skills."
Life Saving Victoria's message comes as the state government introduced new, mandatory safety regulations for pools and spas.
Under the new rules, which are enforceable from December 1, pool and spa owners will have six months to pay and register their pool with their local council. This includes portable wading pools with a depth capacity for more than 30 centimetres' water if left filled for more than three days.
Pool fencing must be compliant to the new legislation at the owners' cost.
Planning Minister Richard Wynne has said the legislation was introduced in a bid to curb drownings, predominantly children, die to faulty and broken fences in private pools.
In Victoria, there have been 27 drownings in private swimming pools and spas over the last 19 years.
"The number of children drowning in non-compliant backyard pools is tragic and unacceptable - that's why these new regulations are necessary," Mr Wynne said.
"We owe it to our children to do everything we can to make sure our pools and spas are safe."