A record number of people have drowned in Victoria in the past six months, triggering a warning for everyone to be careful around the water this summer.
Life Saving Victoria reports that 35 people died of drowning between July 1 and December 28, the largest number ever seen for the period since detailed records began 20 years ago - an increase of 17 deaths on the 10-year average.
Ten people died in December 2020 alone.
Inland waterways have proved to be the most deadly, accounting for 40 per cent of the drowning deaths that have occurred since July 1, compared to 26 per cent on the coast. Thirty-four per cent of the people who drowned died at home or in another setting.
In late November, a 54-year-old man died in hospital after he was found unconscious in a backyard swimming pool in Rochester, although the exact circumstances of his death have not been released.
Twelve children aged 0 to 14 were among those who died in the past six months, more than half of whom drowned in or around the home environment.
This represented the highest number of deaths in this age group since 1999-2000.
"As the summer period goes on, LSV is urging parents to take time to check for water safety risks in and around the home including ensuring home pools and spas have been well maintained and have compliant barriers," LSV principal research associate Dr Bernadette Matthews said.
"Active supervision is crucial when children are in, on or around the water, especially in light of the impact of COVID-19 restrictions which saw an estimated 145,000 children per week miss vital swimming lessons."
Among people aged 15 or over, alcohol or drugs are involved in over 30 per cent of drowning deaths.
The Bendigo Advertiser reported in December that the number of drowning deaths in the Bendigo region had risen in the decade to 2018-19.
In March, the body of a man was recovered from the water at Turpins Falls at Langley.
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