Article

A comparison of attitudes and knowledge of beach safety in Australia for beachgoers, rural residents and international tourists

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Abstract

Objectives: To compare attitudes and knowledge of beach safety in Australia of beachgoers, rural inland residents and international tourists. Method: This analysis is part of the 2007 baseline survey for the Science of the Surf project and involved interviews of 367 people on beaches in New South Wales (NSW), 62 rural residents of a moderate-sized inland town and 73 international tourists visiting Sydney beaches. Participants were asked about various aspects of beach safety and shown photographs of beaches and asked to indicate where they would swim and to identify the location of any rip currents. Logistic regression analysis was used to evaluate the predictors of swimming choice. Results: Most beachgoers were aware that swimming between flags indicating a patrolled section of beach was the safe swimming option, but a significant proportion chose not to swim there. Rural residents were more likely than the other two groups to make safe choices about where to swim in the presence of flags. The odds of international tourists making a safe swimming choice in the vicinity of a rip current were three times lower than usual beachgoers and rural inland residents. Conclusions and Implications: Improving beach safety will require more refined strategies for specific target groups rather than a series of one-size-fits-all approaches.

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... However, the ability to follow this message can be problematic owing to the logistical reality that lifeguard services are not present at all beaches, or at all times. Furthermore, several studies have found that although most beachgoers are aware of the meaning and importance of the red and yellow beach flags, many still choose not to swim between them when they visit patrolled beaches, or often choose to swim at unpatrolled beaches (White and Hyde, 2010;Williamson et al., 2012;Ménard et al., 2018;Pitman et al., 2021). ...
... Existing studies typically describe the extent and characteristics of beach drowning (Silva-Cavalcanti et al., 2018;Koon et al., 2021;Segura et al., 2022), particularly in relation to strong, offshore flowing rip currents (Castelle et al., 2016), which are considered to be the main hazard for swimmers and bathers on surf beaches (Gensini and Ashley, 2010;Woodward et al., 2013;Brighton et al., 2013;Arozarena et al., 2015;Brewster et al., 2019;Cooney et al., 2020). Other studies have conducted surveys to describe the demographics, beach safety knowledge and behaviour of various types of beachgoers (Ballantyne et al., 2005;Williamson et al., 2012;Clifford et al., 2018;Sotés et al., 2018), often in relation to the presence of lifeguards, beach safety flags, and the rip current hazard (Sherker et al., 2010;Caldwell et al., 2013;Brannstrom et al., 2014;Fallon et al., 2018;Ménard et al., 2018;Locknick and Houser, 2021;Pitman et al., 2021). ...
... It should be acknowledged that the results of this surveybased study are subject to a variety of well-known response biases that are inherent in many types of questionnaires, such as agreement bias, prestige bias, and confirmation bias (Choi and Pak, 2005;Ménard et al., 2018;Davies, 2020). These types of bias also apply to previous studies involving surveys of beachgoer safety knowledge (Sherker et al., 2010;Williamson et al., 2012;Caldwell et al., 2013;Brannstrom et al., 2014;Fallon et al., 2018;Llopis et al., 2018;Locknick and Houser, 2021;Pitman et al., 2021). These studies were all conducted on beaches with lifeguards, with the exception of Sherker et al. (2010), who did not discriminate results from respondents on patrolled and unpatrolled beaches. ...
Article
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The majority of drowning deaths on Australian beaches occur significant distances away from lifeguard services. This study uses results of 459 surveys of beachgoers at five beaches unpatrolled by lifeguards in New South Wales, Australia, to improve understanding of who visits these beaches and why, and to identify risk factors associated with their beach safety knowledge and behaviour. Many unpatrolled beach users were infrequent beachgoers (64.9 %) with poor rip current hazard identification skills, who did not observe safety signage that was present, and yet intended to enter the water to swim (85.6 %) despite being aware that no lifeguards were present. The survey found that the main reasons why beachgoers visited unpatrolled beaches were because they were conveniently close to their holiday accommodation, or they represented a quieter location away from crowds. Future beach safety interventions in Australia need to extend beyond the standard “swim between the flags” message in recognition that many Australian beaches will remain unpatrolled, yet still frequented, for the foreseeable future. Future beach safety interventions for unpatrolled beaches should be tailored towards the varied demographic groups of beach users.
... Dans la littérature scientifique, les études qui se sont penchées sur cette question ont souvent mis en évidence l'influence de facteurs sociodémographiques tels que l'âge et le genre, mais aussi la connaissance et la perception des risques (McCool, Moran et al. 2008, White et Hyde 2010, Williamson, Hatfield et al. 2012. Dans ce contexte, les populations de jeunes hommes sont souvent considérées comme particulièrement exposées, exprimant à travers ces comportements une forme d'appétence générale pour le risque, qui se manifeste dans la baignade, mais pas que (Moran 2011). ...
... Ainsi, on constate parfois que ce sont les individus présentant a priori une connaissance plus fine des dangers (en particulier les courants d'arrachement) qui prennent, plus que les autres, la liberté de se baigner en dehors des zones surveillées (Sherker, Williamson et al. 2010). Cette situation a notamment été mise en perspective avec les lieux de vies des répondants, comme dans l'étude de Williamson et al. (2012), où les habitants des zones côtières déclarent se baigner moins souvent dans les zones surveillées, que les touristes vivant loin du littoral. A ce jour, l'explication de ces comportements n'est toujours pas très claire. ...
... Enfin, la passation de questionnaire par téléphone réduit de facto les options quant aux choix des supports d'échange. Contrairement aux enquêtes menées en face à face ou par internet par exemple, on ne peut s'appuyer sur des documents visuels afin d'apprécier la perception qu'ont les individus du milieu naturel (Sherker, Williamson et al. 2010, Williamson, Hatfield et al. 2012, Loomis et Santiago 2013, Ménard, Houser et al. 2018. ...
... Similarly, beach safety studies among adults in Australia and the United Kingdom suggest that the general public possess poor beach safety knowledge, particularly in regard to rip current knowledge and identification (Sherker et al., 2010;Williamson, Hatfield, Sherker, Brander, & Hayen, 2012;Woodward et al., 2015). Additionally, unsafe behaviour at the beach appears common among adults; 73% of those who had been caught in a rip current frequently swam outside of the patrol flags and 40% of those aged 18-25 years had been swimming at an unpatrolled beach (i.e. ...
... The characteristics of surf beaches along this coastline are unique; ironblack sand, rocky outcrops that are popular (albeit very risky) for rock fishing and high-energy surf conditions including consistently large waves and rip currents due to wind, storms and swell patterns coming from the Tasman Sea. West Coast beaches are consistently ranked within the top 10 beaches for the highest number of surf rescues in New Zealand (SLSNZ, 2013;Willcox-Pidgeon, Kool, & Moran, 2017). Studies of these beaches observed usual breaking wave heights ranging between 2 and 5 m, with rip currents flowing up to 300 m offshore (Brander & Short, 2000). ...
... An additional paper by the authors describes the respondents understanding of surf safety (including specific knowledge of rip currents), their perceived swimming competency and their self-reported swimming behaviours (Willcox-Pidgeon et al., 2017). The aims of the analyses presented in this paper are: (1) to describe youth perceptions of the risk of their drowning at a surf beach, and (2) to explore the risk perceptions in terms of their risk and coping appraisal processes. ...
Article
In many countries, beaches are a high-risk location for drowning. In New Zealand, youth and young adults are particularly at risk of drowning at beaches, accounting for 17.4% of drowning deaths and 18.4% of rescues at surf beaches between 2008 and 2013, over 90% of fatalities were male. This study explored New Zealand youth risk perceptions of drowning and their coping appraisal processes at a surf beach. A cross-sectional survey of high school students (n = 599) was conducted between February and April 2014. Females and non-New Zealand European students reported higher levels of perceived vulnerability and severity of drowning risk, and New Zealand European students reported higher levels of self-efficacy of preventive actions. By addressing the underlying causes of underestimation of risk and overestimation of ability, these findings can be utilized to increase awareness and to enhance water safety risk strategies for youth, especially males, in the surf beach setting.
... Furthermore, beach users would like to see warning signs containing information on rip identification using clear examples from the beach they are visiting (Caldwell et al. 2013;Brannstrom et al. 2015;Houser et al. 2017), particularly if they had previously been caught in a rip current or know someone who has been caught in a rip (Drozdzewski et al. 2012(Drozdzewski et al. , 2015. There is no guarantee, however, that a beach user who can accurately identify a rip will be safe, because many will still swim away from lifeguards in unsafe and unpatrolled sections of the beach (e.g., Drozdzewski et al. 2012Drozdzewski et al. , 2015Williamson et al. 2012;Houser et al. 2016). In other words, teaching a beachgoer to correctly identify a rip current may not increase their safety, and an inaccurate assessment of the beach state (a false negative), or over-confidence in their assessment of the risk, may put the observer and other beach users in danger. ...
... This may be an issue insofar as rip current victims may be tourists, who have insufficient information to make safe choices with regards to rip currents. Williamson et al. (2012) found that the odds of tourists making safe swimming choices were three times lower compared to residents and regular beachgoers. Drabek (1999) noted that people are more willing to leave a threatened area if their trip is nearly over and the cost of relocating is relatively low, which could mean that tourists at the start of a vacation would be less likely to take precautions compared to those toward the end of a beach trip. ...
... Drabek (1999) noted that people are more willing to leave a threatened area if their trip is nearly over and the cost of relocating is relatively low, which could mean that tourists at the start of a vacation would be less likely to take precautions compared to those toward the end of a beach trip. While Drabek (1999) focused on rapid onset, low-frequency hazards (floods and storms) with a relatively large number of fatalities, the results of Williamson et al. (2012) suggest that beach users may behave in a similar way when faced with an active warning that rips are present. For example, people staying with relatives (i.e., who are spending less on accommodation) are also more likely to leave a dangerous situation, compared to those staying in hotels requiring a significant financial investment in their visit. ...
Article
Full-text available
The rip current hazard on beaches is a global public health issue. While physical controls on rip current formation and flow behavior are relatively well understood, there has been a recent increase in studies examining the less-understood social dimensions of the hazard. This paper reviews how these studies provide insight into beach safety practices and rip current knowledge among beach users, their ability to spot a rip, and their ability to understand and heed posted warnings. However, we identify how these studies are hindered by methodological limitations and problematic sample choices. It is argued that beach user behavior is affected by confirmation bias, a cognitive shortcut by which a person selectively attends to evidence confirming their preexisting beliefs and ignores disconfirming evidence, and to make decisions in accordance with this bias. Evidence is presented to suggest that there is a potential for beach-going behaviors to be influenced by other beach users and past observations, whether the behavior of others conforms to warnings about the dangers posed by rips in general or at a specific time and place. We also suggest that beach users’ self-reported intentions and beliefs about beach safety may not correspond to their actions at the beach. This suggests a need for active intervention and creation of social norms that address cognitive errors associated with unsafe beach behavior, which in turn requires that coastal scientists and beach safety practitioners should collaborate with social scientists and psychologists for more effective safety outcomes.
... This highlights the need for a more focused effort to better understand the relationship(s) between the dynamic, highly variable, and often hazardous Australian coast and the people who interact with it. Epidemiological studies have provided the majority of our understanding of who drowns in Australian coastal environments and the risk factors implicated in these fatalities [7][8][9][10][11][12][13]. However, coastal drowning risk is also influenced by a range of factors where evidence is scant, including individuals' risk perception, knowledge, attitudes and behaviours, as well as factors that impact exposure such as coastal visitation and participation in various activities [8,10,11]. ...
... Epidemiological studies have provided the majority of our understanding of who drowns in Australian coastal environments and the risk factors implicated in these fatalities [7][8][9][10][11][12][13]. However, coastal drowning risk is also influenced by a range of factors where evidence is scant, including individuals' risk perception, knowledge, attitudes and behaviours, as well as factors that impact exposure such as coastal visitation and participation in various activities [8,10,11]. Some behavioural research into coastal drowning from Australia has explored beachgoer knowledge and attitudes towards safety [11] and the impact of signage and beach flags [10,14], with a significant body of work focused on the rip current hazard [8,10,[15][16][17]. ...
... However, coastal drowning risk is also influenced by a range of factors where evidence is scant, including individuals' risk perception, knowledge, attitudes and behaviours, as well as factors that impact exposure such as coastal visitation and participation in various activities [8,10,11]. Some behavioural research into coastal drowning from Australia has explored beachgoer knowledge and attitudes towards safety [11] and the impact of signage and beach flags [10,14], with a significant body of work focused on the rip current hazard [8,10,[15][16][17]. However, studies with a national scope, or which are focused on individuals' risk perception, alcohol use, lifejackets and the impact of weather on coastal drowning risk, as examples, are relatively rare. ...
Article
Full-text available
Drowning is a global public health problem, but accurately estimating drowning risk remains a challenge. Coastal drowning comprises a significant proportion of the drowning burden in Australia and is influenced by a range of behavioural factors (e.g. risk perception, knowledge, attitudes and behaviours) that are poorly understood. These factors, along with those that impact exposure (e.g. coastal visitation and activity participation) all impact on drowning risk. While excellent mortality and morbidity data exists in Australia, a lack of coastal participation data presents challenges to identifying high-risk groups or activities and prioritising prevention efforts. This methods paper describes the development and evolution of an ongoing, annual, nationally representative online survey as an effective tool used to capture valuable data about the Australian population’s relationship with the coast. This paper explores how the survey is structured (12–14 sections spanning multiple topics and themes), the different question types used (including open text, 4-digit responses and categorical questions), the sample size (1400–1600 respondents), sampling strategy (using demographic quota sampling which can then be post-weighted to the population if required) and how topics and themes have changed over time to enhance the quality of data collected (i.e., wording changes to enhance participant comprehension or data usability and changing issue-specific ‘feature’ topics of interest such as campaign evaluation). How the survey is implemented online is described, both practically through to third-party recruitment processes and ethically to maximise anonymity of respondents and ensure data quality. Interim analyses indicate the impact of considering exposure when calculating fatal drowning rates, especially by activity (e.g., crude boating drowning rate 0.12 per 100,000 population vs 0.95 per 100,000 exposed population [relative risk = 8.01; 95% confidence interval: 4.55–14.10]). This study highlights lessons learned in the process of conducting a nationally representative coastal participation survey as well as the strengths and limitations of adopting this approach. Data collected will provide more detailed information on the skills, behaviours, knowledge and attitudes of coastal activity participants. Analyses of this unique dataset will inform research that will underpin development and evaluation of coastal drowning prevention initiatives prioritising those most at risk. It is hoped that the methods detailed within this study may be useful for other countries to develop similar approaches to understanding their own population.
... Most popular beaches in Australia are patrolled by professional lifeguards and/or volunteer surf lifesavers during the extended summer period (some year round) who install a pair(s) of red and yellow flags along the beach each day to denote safer areas for bathing and swimming. The primary and longstanding beach safety message promoted in Australia has always been to 'swim between the red and yellow flags' (Wilks et al., 2007;SLSA, 2021) and while numerous studies have reported that most domestic beachgoers are aware that they should swim between the flags, many choose not to for a variety of reasons (Mitchell and Haddrill, 2004;Ballantyne et al., 2005;White and Hyde, 2010;Sherker et al., 2010;Williamson et al., 2012;Uebelhoer et al., 2022). In surveys conducted of a representative sample of the Australian population , Surf Life Saving Australia found that only half the participants reported always swimming between the flags when at a patrolled beach (SLSA, 2017). ...
... It is therefore not surprising that the majority of drowning deaths in Australia occur >1 km from the nearest lifesaving service (SLSA, 2021), either on unpatrolled beaches, outside of the flags on patrolled beaches, or outside of lifeguard/lifesaver patrol times. When people choose to visit beaches in these locations, and at these times, their knowledge and awareness of beach conditions and hazards becomes a critical safety factor in regards to correct choice of both intent to swim and swim location (Sherker et al., 2010;Williamson et al., 2012). ...
... The potential vulnerability of beachgoers to the rip current hazard has been shown to be strongly influenced by a variety of social, physiological and psychological factors such as beachgoer demographics, swimming ability, knowledge and awareness, previous experience and behaviour (e.g. Ballantyne et al., 2005;McCool et al., 2008;Sherker et al., 2010;White and Hyde, 2010;Drozdzewski et al., 2012Drozdzewski et al., , 2015Williamson et al., 2012;Caldwell et al., 2013;Brannstrom et al., 2014;Gallop et al., 2016;Houser et al., 2016;Llopis et al., 2017;Clifford et al., 2018;Fallon et al., 2018a,b;Menard et al., 2018;Pitman et al., 2021). Most of these studies have found that beachgoer understanding and awareness of the rip current hazard, particularly their ability to identify rip currents, is poor. ...
Article
This study evaluates the effectiveness of a science-based beach safety presentation given to multiple audiences in Sydney, NSW, Australia. A total of 383 attendees aged 14 years and over completed pre- and post-intervention surveys associated with 10 Science of the Surf (SOS) presentations with 121 completing a follow-up survey. Following the presentation, attendees showed a significant improvement in their choice not to swim at beaches unpatrolled by lifeguards, intention to check for common hazards such as rip currents, knowledge of what a rip current looked like and ability to identify rip currents in photographs. These improvements were retained at least four weeks after seeing the presentation. However, there was evidence to suggest that perceived improvement of rip current identification led to over-confidence in terms of choosing appropriate swimming locations. Overall, these findings suggest that direct presentations may improve community understanding of beach safety practice and rip current awareness and identification. However, it is recommended that future presentations be given by trained and skilled communicators, use video footage and time lapse imagery of dye releases into rip currents, and use the finding of over-confidence as a cautionary tale when designing beach safety presentations for the public.
... Rip currents are considered by coastal scientists to be the number one hazard on any surf beach. In recent years, researchers (e.g., Brannstrom et al. 2014;Drozdzewski et al. 2012;McCoy et al. 2010;Sherker et al. 2010;Williamson et al. 2012) have utilized public surveys to gain information about beachgoers and rip currents. Although they have been deemed a global problem, most research involving human understanding of rip currents has been conducted in the USA and Australia. ...
... Morgan et al. (2009) showed that male bias in water-related incidents could be attributed to their increased frequency and exposure to water activities. Williamson et al. (2012) observed males being significantly less likely to swim in safe locations. If knowledge and behavior coincide, then it is likely that males will score lower on a rip current knowledge survey than their gender counterparts. ...
... If knowledge and behavior coincide, then it is likely that males will score lower on a rip current knowledge survey than their gender counterparts. Williamson et al. (2012) analyzed the age data of their respondents (14-19, 20-29, 30-49, and[ 50 years) at Australian beaches and found that the odds of making the safe or correct choice in swimming location was three times lower for participants in the 20-39 years age group compared to the oldest participants (60 ?). A unique study by Drozdzewski et al. (2012) only surveyed people in Australia that were rip current survivors. ...
Article
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Rip currents are fast moving, offshore flows that have the ability to move even the strongest swimmers into deeper waters. Miami Beach, Florida is one of the most visited beaches in the USA and a sought after destination for citizens and international tourists alike. It is also known to be a rip current “hot spot.” These factors greatly increase the risk of drowning; however, no previous research has focused on beachgoer perception of rip-related risks in South Florida. Over a 12-month period, 203 public surveys were collected to determine the rip current knowledge of beachgoers at Miami Beach based on factors such as swimming ability and frequency of beach visits. The responses were analyzed by constructing a normalized component factor to determine the respondent’s comprehensive knowledge of rips, and multiple regression models were used to assess the net influences of sociodemographic and behavioral characteristics on the responses. A significant proportion of the survey respondents showed insufficient knowledge, indicating they are at risk of drowning in a rip current. Frequent beachgoer’s exposure to the beach environment, maturation, and nativity is identified as the main contributors to knowledge net of other sociodemographic compositions. The most at-risk groups were determined to be young adults, foreign tourists, poor swimmers, and those who infrequently visited the beach. Miami Beach needs to initiate a rip current safety campaign to target these at-risk beachgoers, where interventions beyond familial and educational institutions should be introduced.
... In Australia, a study on beach drowning incidents suggested that a quarter of all fatalities from 2001-2005 were tourists (Morgan, Ozanne-Smith, & Triggs, 2008). Other Australian studies have suggested that the higher incidence of surf-related drowning among visitors reflects lack of water competency, surf safety knowledge, or experience at the beach (McKay, Brander, & Goff, 2014;Williamson, Hatfield, Sherker, Brander, & Hayen, 2012). The high incident rates have prompted calls for the introduction of water safety messages specifically targeting inbound tourists at airports and travel agencies (McKay et al., 2014;Leggat & Wilks, 2009;Mitchell, Williamson, & Chung, 2015;Wilks, Dawes, Pendergast, & Williamson, 2005;Wilks, DeNardi, & Wodarski, 2007). ...
... Fourth, almost all residents (92%) strongly agreed that they always swim between the flags but significantly fewer international tourist (84%) strongly agreed that they would. Similar findings were reported in an Australian study of attitudes and knowledge of beach safety where the odds of international tourists making a safe swimming choice were three times lower than usual beachgoers and rural inland residents (Williamson et al., 2012). ...
... Less than half of residents (49%) and even fewer tourists (40%) were confident that they could identify a rip at a surf beach. Similar proportions were reported in Australia with almost half (48%) of Australian beachgoers correctly identifying a rip when shown a photograph compared with less than one third (29%) of international tourists (Williamson et al., 2012). Furthermore, the same study also reported moderate to high levels of confidence among residents (60%) in their ability to identify a rip while only a small proportion (15%) of international tourists felt the same level of confidence. ...
Article
Little is known about the water safety knowledge, attitudes, and behaviours of international tourists holidaying in New Zealand. An online survey was conducted among New Zealand residents (n = 413) and international tourists (n =181) in August 2015. Significantly more New Zealand residents (69%) than tourists (40%) reported swimming at a beach. Tourists were more likely to hold unsafe beliefs related to swimming and boating activity. More tourists agreed that they would swim at a non-patrolled beach. Both residents and visitors had a poor understanding of rip currents at surf beaches. Ways of promoting water safety messaging to address these shortcomings are discussed. Available at: http://scholarworks.bgsu.edu/ijare/vol10/iss1/5
... Rip currents flow at speeds often exceeding 0.5 m/s (MacMahan et al. 2006;Dalrymple et al. 2011;Castelle et al. 2016a) easily capable of carrying unsuspecting bathers of all swimming abilities (Drozdzewski et al. 2012(Drozdzewski et al. , 2015 into deeper water where, in the worst-case scenario, a combination of exhaustion and panic can ultimately result in a drowning death (Brander et al. 2011). There has been a recent increase in interest in the rip-current hazard (see Castelle et al. 2016a for a review); in particular, numerous studies have taken a sociophysical approach to profile beachgoer behaviour (Ballantyne et al. 2005;Sherker et al. 2010;Williamson et al. 2012;Woodward et al. 2013;Houser et al. 2016), their understanding and recognition of rip currents (Hatfield et al. 2012;Caldwell et al. 2013;Brannstrom et al. 2014) and how people may escape rip currents when caught in one (McCarroll et al. , 2015Castelle et al. 2016b;Van Leeuwen et al. 2016). This approach has yielded valuable information assisting the development of future educational interventions related to the rip-current hazard (Bradstreet et al. 2014;Houser et al. 2017). ...
... Rip currents flow at speeds often exceeding 0.5 m/s (MacMahan et al. 2006;Dalrymple et al. 2011;Castelle et al. 2016a) easily capable of carrying unsuspecting bathers of all swimming abilities (Drozdzewski et al. 2012(Drozdzewski et al. , 2015 into deeper water where, in the worst-case scenario, a combination of exhaustion and panic can ultimately result in a drowning death (Brander et al. 2011). There has been a recent increase in interest in the rip-current hazard (see Castelle et al. 2016a for a review); in particular, numerous studies have taken a sociophysical approach to profile beachgoer behaviour (Ballantyne et al. 2005;Sherker et al. 2010;Williamson et al. 2012;Woodward et al. 2013;Houser et al. 2016), their understanding and recognition of rip currents (Hatfield et al. 2012;Caldwell et al. 2013;Brannstrom et al. 2014) and how people may escape rip currents when caught in one (McCarroll et al. , 2015Castelle et al. 2016b;Van Leeuwen et al. 2016). This approach has yielded valuable information assisting the development of future educational interventions related to the rip-current hazard (Bradstreet et al. 2014;Houser et al. 2017). ...
Article
Full-text available
Surf zone injuries (SZIs) are common worldwide, yet limited data are available for many geographical regions, including Europe. This study provides the first preliminary overview of SZIs along approximately 230 km of hazardous surf beaches in SW France during the summer season. A total of 2523 SZIs over 186 sample days during the summers of 2007, 2009 and 2015 were analysed. Documented injury data included date and time; beach location; flag colour; outside/inside of the bathing zone; age, gender, country and home postal code of the victim; activity; cause of injury; injury type and severity. Injuries sustained ranged from mild contusion to fatal drowning, including severe spinal injuries, wounds and luxation. While the most severe injuries (drowning) were related to rip currents, a large number of SZIs occurred as a result of shore-break waves (44.6%; n = 1125) and surfing activity (31.0%; n = 783) primarily inside and outside of lifeguard-patrolled bathing zones, respectively. Victims were primarily French living more than 40 km from the beach (75.9% of the reported addresses; n = 1729), although a substantial number of victims originated from Europe (14.7% of the addresses reported; n = 335), including the Netherlands (44.2%; n = 148), Germany (26.3%; n = 88) and Belgium (12.5%; n = 49). The predominant age group involved in the incidents was between 10 and 25 years (54.5%; n = 1376) followed by between 35 and 50 years (22.6%; n = 570), with the majority of SZIs involving males (69.6%, n = 1617). Despite the large predominance (74.1%; n = 33) of males involved in the most severe drowning incidents, all of which occurred outside the bathing zone, a surprisingly large proportion of females (48.0%; n = 133) experienced milder drowning incidents involving only minor to moderate respiratory impairment, peaking at 58.2% (n = 85) within the age group 10–25. The spine/cervical injury population is very young, with 58.5% (n = 313) within the age group 10–20. Specific injuries tended to occur in clusters (e.g. rip-current drowning or shore-break injury) with particular days prone to rip-current drowning or hazardous shore-break waves, suggesting the potential to predict the level of risk to beachgoers based on basic weather and marine conditions. This study calls for increased social-based beach safety research in France and the development of more effective public awareness campaigns to highlight the surf zone hazards, even within a supervised bathing zone. These campaigns should be targeted towards young males and females, in order to reduce the number of injuries and drownings occurring on beaches in SW France.
... Whether this is a conscious decision or peer pressure, or whether experience overrules subjective risk, or whether a sense of control over their actions comes to the fore is uncertain. These psychological implications are further found in studies by White and Hyde (2010) and Williamson et al. (2012) in relation to swimming location and rip current hazard. The importance of understanding motivational factors, intentions, and risk perception of beach users is therefore paramount in managing beaches effectively and developing education materials, and deserves a study in its own right. ...
... A quarter of beach users gave a satisfactory response which included a statement that was correct but did not explain enough detail of the mechanics behind a rip current to be a good answer. Consistent with the findings of those in Australia (Sherker et al. 2010;Williamson et al. 2012) and in the U.S. (Brannstrom et.al 2014;Caldwell et al. 2013), this study adds to worldwide research that identifies a typical beach user to have a poor knowledge of rip currents. ...
... 9,10 International travelers may also be at a higher risk due to other factors including language barriers, a relaxed attitude to safety whilst on holiday and potentially an increased use of alcohol and risk taking behaviour around water whilst on vacation. 11 Non-infectious causes of death such as cardiac and other chronic diseases are common among travellers whereas common injury causes of death include road injury and drowning. 2 Some risk taking among travelers is expected and is part of the reason why people travel, [12][13][14] however with respect to drowning, this can potentially pose a significant risk of injury and death. ...
... Drowning prevention interventions must continue to educate overseas travelers of the importance of swimming at patrolled beaches, during patrol times and between the red and yellow flags as this location is the safest on the beach. 11 Often participating in aquatic activity is only one part of an overall holiday. Information about exposure is not available and may show that drowning is of a greater risk than other activities, as demonstrated by a recent study which showed that while the number of drowning deaths were four times lower than road traffic mortality, the rate based on exposure was 200 times higher for drowning. ...
Article
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Introduction . Drowning deaths of travelers are commonly reported in the media, creating a perception that they are at a higher risk of drowning than residents. This may be true, due in part to unfamiliarity with the risks posed by the hazard, however there is limited information about drowning deaths of travelers in Australia. This study aims to identify the incidence of drowning among international travelers in Australia and examine the risk factors to inform prevention strategies. Methods . Data on unintentional fatal drowning in Australian waterways of victims with a residential postcode from outside Australia were extracted from the Royal Life Saving Society—Australia National Fatal Drowning Database. Results . Between 1 July 2002 and 30 June 2012 drowning deaths among people known to be international travelers accounted for 4.3% ( N = 123) of the 2870 drowning deaths reported in Australian waterways. Key locations for drowning deaths included beaches (39.0%), ocean/harbour (22.0%) and swimming pools (12.2%). Leading activities prior to drowning included swimming (52.0%), diving (17.9%) and watercraft incidents (13.0%). Discussion . International travelers pose a unique challenge from a drowning prevention perspective. The ability to exchange information on water safety is complicated due to potential language barriers, possible differences in swimming ability, different attitudes to safety in the traveler’s home country and culture, a lack of opportunities to discuss safety, a relaxed attitude to safety which may result in an increase in risk taking behaviour and alcohol consumption. Conclusion . Prevention is vital both to reduce loss of life in the aquatic environment and promote Australia as a safe and enjoyable holiday destination for international travelers.
... Rip currents are the main hazard to recreational swimmers and bathers and, in recent years, have been recognized as a serious global public health issue Woodward et al., 2013;Kumar and Prasad, 2014;Arozarena et al., 2015;Brewster et al., 2019;Vlodarchyk et al., 2019). Rips are strong, seaward-directed currents that can develop on beaches characterized by wave breaking within the surf zone (Castelle et al., 2016) and are capable of transporting swimmers a significant distance away from the shoreline into deeper waters. ...
... It is estimated that the annual number of rip current drownings exceeds the number of fatalities caused by hurricanes, forest fires, and floods in Australia , while rip-related drownings on a relatively small number of beaches in Costa Rica account for a disproportionately large number of violent deaths in the country (Arozarena et al., 2015). However, recent evidence suggests that public knowledge of this hazard is limited (Brander et al., 2011;Williamson et al., 2012;Brannstrom et al., 2014Brannstrom et al., , 2015Gallop et al., 2016;Fallon et al., 2018;Ménard et al., 2018;Silva-Cavalcanti et al., 2018;Trimble and Houser, 2017) and that few people are interested in rip currents compared to other hazards . ...
Article
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Rip currents and other surf hazards are an emerging public health issue globally. Lifeguards, warning flags, and signs are important, and to varying degrees they are effective strategies to minimize risk to beach users. In the United States and other jurisdictions around the world, lifeguards use coloured flags (green, yellow, and red) to indicate whether the danger posed by the surf and rip hazard is low, moderate, or high respectively. The choice of flag depends on the lifeguard(s) monitoring the changing surf conditions along the beach and over the course of the day using both regional surf forecasts and careful observation. There is a potential that the chosen flag is not consistent with the beach user perception of the risk, which may increase the potential for rescues or drownings. In this study, machine learning is used to determine the potential for error in the flags used at Pensacola Beach and the impact of that error on the number of rescues. Results of a decision tree analysis indicate that the colour flag chosen by the lifeguards was different from what the model predicted for 35 % of days between 2004 and 2008 (n=396/1125). Days when there is a difference between the predicted and posted flag colour represent only 17 % of all rescue days, but those days are associated with ∼60 % of all rescues between 2004 and 2008. Further analysis reveals that the largest number of rescue days and total number of rescues are associated with days where the flag deployed over-estimated the surf and hazard risk, such as a red or yellow flag flying when the model predicted a green flag would be more appropriate based on the wind and wave forcing alone. While it is possible that the lifeguards were overly cautious, it is argued that they most likely identified a rip forced by a transverse-bar and rip morphology common at the study site. Regardless, the results suggest that beach users may be discounting lifeguard warnings if the flag colour is not consistent with how they perceive the surf hazard or the regional forecast. Results suggest that machine learning techniques have the potential to support lifeguards and thereby reduce the number of rescues and drownings.
... This stands in contrast to 49% of visitors residing in Australia reporting these low levels of familiarity (see Figure 19). This is in line with previous research showing that beach safety knowledge is significantly lower for international tourists than local Australians (Williamson, Hatfield, Sherker, Brander & Hayen, 2012). Findings put forward by the Australian Water Safety Council (2012) suggested that "tourists and recently arrived migrants are at greater risk of drowning due to lower levels of awareness and foundation aquatic skills" (p. ...
Thesis
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Decision making under conditions of risk is only partly understood. This thesis investigates decision making factors of individuals pursuing a ‘risky’ outdoor activity at a popular tourist attraction in Western Australia, namely to cross the ocean on a 700m ridge of sand to Penguin Island, despite the best intentions of the acting land managing agency to deter visitors from doing so. The aim of this study was to better understand decision making processes under conditions of risk in a nature-based tourism and recreation context. Given the unique environmental risks related to this activity, a case study approach was used. Case information was obtained by informal interviews with three key staff involved in the management of the sandbar. Visitor data was collected over the summer of 2014/2015 by means of a survey establishing a profile of visitors walking the sandbar as well as semi-structured interviews to understand what motivated visitors to cross. The Theory of Planned Behaviour was used as a qualitative framework to conceptualise motivational factors. Results show that walking the sandbar is more than just a means to access Penguin Island but is an experience of great value to visitors. The activity is predominantly practiced in groups and was often seen by walkers as one of the main reasons for visiting Penguin Island. Potential risks involved with the activity were recognised by sandbar walkers but largely described as being applicable only to other people at another time. The benefits of walking the sandbar, which were to avoid the ferry, pursue active living, be nearer to nature, and to experience novelty and adventure within their social circles, outweighed any negatives perceived to be associated with the activity. Normative influences in seeing others walking across were found to be a strong influencing factor in decision making, especially for inexperienced visitors. The popularity of the tourism site as a whole as well as the activity in particular lead visitors to believe that walking the sandbar is and should be an activity provided within a context of visitor guidance and shared responsibilities for safety between visitors and institutional stakeholders.
... They are also the main cause of lifesaver and lifeguard rescues (Brighton, Sherker, Brander, Thompson, & Bradstreet, 2013). Several studies confirm that international tourists are at particular risk in this area-being unable to recognize a rip and when shown a color photograph of a beach that includes a rip they nominate the rip area as the place they would choose to swim (Ballantyne, Carr, & Hughes, 2005;Williamson, Hatfield, Sherker, Brander, & Hayend, 2012). strategies, one of which is to provide lifeguards in public areas where people are known to swim and to encourage swimming in those protected areas (International Life Saving Federation [ILS], 2015). ...
Article
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The law requires a tourism operator to undertake due diligence in relation to reasonably foreseeable risks. In the marine environment it is now well established that international tourists are a particular "at risk" group for drowning and near drowning events due to factors such as poor swimming ability, unfamiliarity with aquatic environments and marine recreational activities, language, possible alcohol and drug use, and general disorientation. The employment of lifeguards is increasingly recognized as an appropriate risk management and quality service response, as other popular injury prevention initiatives may not be as successful with tourists. This article examines the law and practice relating to the supply of lifeguards in tourist settings, suggesting that quality customer service has moved beyond reliance on static safety signage.
... It may also help develop informed reactions and reduce the likelihood of panic, which is the main emotional response of people caught in rips (Attard, Brander, & Shaw, 2015;Drozdzewski et al., 2012;McCarroll, Castelle, Brander, & Scott, 2015). Educational campaigns should not assume the target audience already understands what a rip current is as infrequent beachgoers, migrants, and tourists from noncoastal areas may lack knowledge of rip currents (Ballantyne, Carr, & Hughes, 2005;Brannstrom et al., 2015;Williamson et al., 2012). Future producers of YouTube videos should therefore try to include basic definitions and descriptions of rips to improve overall rip current understanding and awareness and could also attempt to target, or at least highlight, particular demographic groups that may be at more risk. ...
... It may also help develop informed reactions and reduce the likelihood of panic, which is the main emotional response of people caught in rips (Attard, Brander, & Shaw, 2015;Drozdzewski et al., 2012;McCarroll, Castelle, Brander, & Scott, 2015). Educational campaigns should not assume the target audience already understands what a rip current is as infrequent beachgoers, migrants, and tourists from noncoastal areas may lack knowledge of rip currents (Ballantyne, Carr, & Hughes, 2005;Brannstrom et al., 2015;Williamson et al., 2012). Future producers of YouTube videos should therefore try to include basic definitions and descriptions of rips to improve overall rip current understanding and awareness and could also attempt to target, or at least highlight, particular demographic groups that may be at more risk. ...
Article
Rip currents are strong, narrow, offshore flows found on many global beaches and contribute to hundreds of drownings and tens of thousands of rescues each year. Yet despite long-standing educational efforts, public understanding of rip currents is poor. YouTube represents a new visual-based social media platform with the potential to educate a large and global audience about the rip current hazard. This study analyzed the content of 256 rip current–related YouTube videos with over 5 million total views as of March 2, 2015 finding that the accuracy of information disseminated about rip currents on YouTube is mixed and of varying quality. Existing videos are good at emphasizing correct rip current terminology, visual imagery, and a range of escape strategies, but greater emphasis in future videos must be placed on rip current avoidance, particularly through promoting the need to swim near lifeguards and how to spot rip currents.
... Given sufficient information, it is possible for beach users to identify a rip current with confidence . However, the ability to identify a rip current or to recognize posted warnings about the rip current danger is not a guarantee that a beach user will be safe, particularly because many will still choose to swim in unsafe and unpatrolled sections of the beach, away from the presence of lifeguards, for social or behavioral reasons or because of a lack of awareness and/or complacency (Drozdzewski et al., 2012(Drozdzewski et al., , 2015Williamson et al., 2012;Houser et al., 2016). Recent evidence suggests that beach access management can inadvertently steer unsuspecting beach users towards rip-prone areas, increasing the chances of a drown-ing occurring on that beach (see Barrett and Houser, 2012;Houser et al., 2015;Trimble and Houser, 2017). ...
Article
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Rip currents pose a major global beach hazard; estimates of annual rip-current-related deaths in the United States alone range from 35 to 100 per year. Despite increased social research into beach-goer experience, little is known about levels of rip current knowledge within the general population. This study describes the results of an online survey to determine the extent of rip current knowledge across the United States, with the aim of improving and enhancing existing beach safety education material. Results suggest that the US-based Break the Grip of the Rip!® campaign has been successful in educating the public about rip current safety directly or indirectly, with the majority of respondents able to provide an accurate description of how to escape a rip current. However, the success of the campaign is limited by discrepancies between personal observations at the beach and rip forecasts that are broadcasted for a large area and time. It was the infrequent beach user that identified the largest discrepancies between the forecast and their observations. Since infrequent beach users also do not seek out lifeguards or take the same precautions as frequent beach users, it is argued that they are also at greatest risk of being caught in a dangerous situation. Results of this study suggest a need for the national campaign to provide greater focus on locally specific and verified rip forecasts and signage in coordination with lifeguards, but not at the expense of the successful national awareness program.
... Klein et al., 2003; Hartmann, 2006; Gensini and Ashley, 2009; Brewster, 2010; Brighton et al., 2013; Scott et al., 2011b; Arun Kumar and Prasad, 2014; Arozarena et al., 2015, Barlas and Beji, 2015) and it is now well established that they are the primary physical hazard facing recreational bathers on surf beaches worldwide (Brander and Scott, 2016). While the severity of the rip hazard to bathers has been shown to be influenced by various demographic, social, behavioural, knowledge-based and emotional factors (Sherker et al., 2010; Hatfield et al., 2012; Williamson et al., 2012; Caldwell et al., 2013; Woodward et al., 2013; 2015; Brannstrom et al., 2014), in terms of physical factors it is primarily dictated by a combination of rip current flow speed and circulation patterns (Scott et al., 2014). As outlined by Brander and MacMahan (2011), our understanding of rip current flow behaviour has had a strong influence on existing global rip current hazard safety messaging promoted to the public, particularly in terms of self-escape strategies. ...
Article
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Rip currents are narrow and concentrated seaward-directed flows that extend from close to the shoreline, through the surf zone, and varying distances beyond. Rip currents are ubiquitous on wave-exposed coasts. Each year they cause hundreds of drowning deaths and tens of thousands of rescues on beaches worldwide and are therefore the leading deadly hazard to recreational beach users. The broad definition above masks considerable natural variability in terms of rip current occurrence in time and space, flow characteristics and behaviour. In particular, surf-zone rip currents have long been perceived as narrow flows extending well beyond the breakers, flushing out the surf zone at a high rate ('exit flow' circulation regime), while more recent studies have shown that rip flow patterns can consist of quasi-steady semi-enclosed vortices retaining most of the floating material within the surf zone ('circulatory flow' circulation regime). Building upon a growing body of rip current literature involving numerical modelling and theory together with emergence of dense Lagrangian field measurements, we develop a robust rip current type classification that provides a relevant framework to understand the primary morphological and hydrodynamic parameters controlling surf-zone rip current occurrence and dynamics. Three broad categories of rip current types are described based on the dominant controlling forcing mechanism. Each category is further divided into two types owing to different physical driving mechanisms for a total of six fundamentally different rip current types: hydrodynamically-controlled (1) shear instability rips and (2) flash rips, which are transient in both time and space and occur on alongshore-uniform beaches; bathymetrically-controlled (3) channel rips and (4) focused rips, which occur at relatively fixed locations and are driven by hydrodynamic processes forced by natural alongshore variability of the morphology in both the surf zone and inner shelf zone; and boundary-controlled (5) deflection rips and (6) shadow rips, which flow against rigid lateral boundaries such as natural headlands or anthropogenic structures. For each rip current type, flow response to changes in hydrodynamic and morphologic forcing magnitude is examined in regard to velocity modulation and changes in circulation regime, providing key forceresponse relationships of rip currents. We also demonstrate that in the real world, rip currents form through a mixture of driving mechanisms and the discrete rip types defined in fact form key elements in a wide and complex spectrum of rip currents on natural beaches. It is anticipated that this rip current type classification will serve as a resource for coastal scientists and non-specialists with an interest in the rip current hazard, and as a platform for future rip current studies. Finally, we suggest some important future research directions highlighting the need for coastal and beach safety communities to collaborate in order to improve rip current education and awareness.
... Students answered only those questions they could. The same quiz was administered unannounced in class one week after the training day (Q2) and again eight weeks after training (Q3).The quiz was developed drawing on the professional literature for teaching basic life support to children (e.g., Bernardo, Doyle, & Bryn, 2002;Connolly, Toner, Connolly, & McCluskey, 2007), beach safety (Hatfield, Williamson, Sherker, Brander, & Hayen, 2012;Sherker et al., 2010;Williamson, Hatfield, Sherker, Brander, & Hayend, 2012), lifesaving programmes (Life Saving Victoria, 2013;McGregor & Symington, 2007;Surf Life Saving Australia, 2006) and extensive discussions with first aid providers. Drafts of the quiz were reviewed by 10 members of Surf Life Saving Queensland and changes made to the content and wording before the study commenced. ...
Article
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Childhood drowning remains a serious public health problem worldwide. The Australian Water Safety Council has set as one of its highest priorities the reduction of drowning deaths in children aged 0-14 years. However, concerns have recently been raised that many students completing primary school still lack the ability to recognize potential aquatic risks, cope with emergencies or assist someone else in danger. In this study, 107 primary school children aged 11-12 completed a one day training programme led by surf lifesaving instructors. Pre, post and eight week follow-up measures showed statistically significant improvements in recognition of the red 'beach closed' flag, aquatic safety signs, how to identify a rip current and choosing the safest place to swim at a beach that included a rip current in the picture. Following training students were more willing to provide first aid assistance to family members and friends in an emergency situation. Findings reinforce the value of school-based training that provides a general foundation for aquatic safety, with the caveat that current programmes must be evaluated to ensure their content has a robust prevention focus.
... Drozdzewski et al. (2012) survey people who have been caught in a rip current and survived. Williamson et al. (2012) compare attitudes and knowledge of beachgoers from rural inland residents and international tourists in Australia concerning beach safety. An important outcome of this study is that the odds of international tourists making a safe swimming choice in the vicinity of a rip current are three times lower than usual beachgoers and rural inland residents. ...
Article
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This study examined fatalities due to rip currents in the gendarmerie region of the Black Sea coasts of Istanbul during the period of 2007–2012. Effects of social and religious aspects to the nature and extend of incidents are emphasized. Analyses include the incidence rate of fatalities from rip currents, their causes, temporal and spatial distributions. Gendarmerie hazard event records show that 68 % of all drowning fatalities are associated with rip currents and that on average 33 people die from rip currents each year on the Black Sea beaches of Istanbul. Fifty-four percentage of fatalities are between 18 and 35 years of age. Difference in gender vulnerability is quite pronounced; males are nearly seven times more likely to fall victim to a deadly rip current than females. Weekends naturally have more fatalities than any other day of the week. As expected, summer season weekends are observed to have more fatalities than any other time of the year. July is the most hazardous month and is followed by August. The Muslim fasting month of Ramadan has a significant effect on reducing the fatalities with only six reported deaths during the period of 2007–2012.
... [4][5][6][7][8] A focus on beaches has also seen prevention efforts in that space be successful. [9][10][11] Strategies which target specific aquatic locations may also prove to be successful, as they allow ownership of the issue. In Australia for example, local councils are responsible for beaches and publicly owned swimming pools, and individuals are responsible for private swimming pools. ...
Article
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Access full text Open Access article here- http://injuryprevention.bmj.com/content/early/2016/01/04/injuryprev-2015-041750.full Introduction Drowning is a leading cause of unintentional death. Rivers are a common location for drowning. Unlike other location-specific prevention efforts (home swimming pools and beaches), little is known about prevention targeting river drowning deaths. Methods A systematic literature review was undertaken using English language papers published between 1980 and 2014, exploring gaps in the literature, with a focus on epidemiology, risk factors and prevention strategies for river drowning. Results Twenty-nine papers were deemed relevant to the study design including 21 (72.4%) on epidemiology, 18 (62.1%) on risk factors and 10 (34.5%) that proposed strategies for prevention. Risk factors identified included age, falls into water, swimming, using watercraft, sex and alcohol. Discussion Gaps were identified in the published literature. These included a lack of an agreed definition for rivers, rates for fatal river drowning (however, crude rates were calculated for 12 papers, ranging from 0.20 to 1.89 per 100 000 people per annum), and consensus around risk factors, especially age. There was only one paper that explored a prevention programme; the remaining nine outlined proposed prevention activities. There is a need for studies into exposure patterns for rivers and an agreed definition (with consistent coding). Conclusions This systematic review has identified that river drowning deaths are an issue in many regions and countries around the world. Further work to address gaps in the published research to date would benefit prevention efforts.
... As mentioned, tourists in the present study were 6 times more likely to suffer a SZI compared to locals. Results from other studies also suggest that tourists or beachgoers unfamiliar with coastal processes are more likely to suffer an accident, utilize the beach in an unsafe manner or require rescue (Klein et al. 2003;Ballantyne et al. 2005;Williamson et al. 2012). The findings from the present and previous studies reiterate the importance of human tendencies associated with beach and surf zone safety. ...
Article
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Surf zone injury and environmental condition data were collected concurrently during the summer of 2014 along the Delaware coast. Documented injury data included injury type, gender, age and activity, while measured environmental conditions included local wave height, wave period and foreshore slope. Daily water user counts were used to normalize injury rates relative to the number of beachgoers at risk. There were 280 injuries over 116 sample days along the entire Delaware coast and 169 injuries over 82 sample days within the 5-beach focused study area where water user count data were available. Injuries were not distributed randomly as tested against a Poisson distribution and occurred in clusters with up to 15 injuries occurring in a single day. There were 32 serious injuries (cervical fractures, spinal cord injuries) and 1 fatality. Water user counts throughout the course of a day exceeded 25,000 on busy weekends such that the mean injury rate was 0.02 %. Men were twice as likely to be injured relative to women, and the mean injury age was 32 years old. Tourists were six times more likely to be injured compared to local beachgoers. Wading (44 %) was the dominant injury activity followed by body surfing (20 %) and body boarding (17 %). Direct correlation between injury occurrence or injury rate and any environmental factors was weak (highest squared correlation coefficient <0.12), but the highest injury rates were associated with moderate wave height (0.6 m) with lower injury rates for both smaller and larger waves. Lack of direct correlation between injury occurrence or injury rate and environmental parameters suggests there was an important (and as yet undetermined) human element that also dictates the injury rate. Additionally, the high proportion of injuries to tourists may require alternate strategies in local beach safety and injury awareness campaigns.
... [4][5][6][7][8] A focus on beaches has also seen prevention efforts in that space be successful. [9][10][11] Strategies which target specific aquatic locations may also prove to be successful, as they allow ownership of the issue. In Australia for example, local councils are responsible for beaches and publicly owned swimming pools, and individuals are responsible for private swimming pools. ...
... Drozdzewski et al. (2012) survey people who have been caught in a rip current and survived. Williamson et al. (2012) compare attitudes and knowledge of beachgoers from rural inland residents and international tourists in Australia concerning beach safety. An important outcome of this study is that the odds of international tourists making a safe swimming choice in the vicinity of a rip current are three times lower than usual beachgoers and rural inland residents. ...
Article
Full-text available
This study examined fatalities due to rip currents in the gendarmerie region of the Black Sea coasts of Istanbul during the period of 2007–2012. Effects of social and religious aspects to the nature and extend of incidents are emphasized. Analyses include the incidence rate of fatalities from rip currents, their causes, temporal and spatial distributions. Gendarmerie hazard event records show that 68 % of all drowning fatalities are associated with rip currents and that on average 33 people die from rip currents each year on the Black Sea beaches of Istanbul. Fifty-four percentage of fatalities are between 18 and 35 years of age. Difference in gender vulnerability is quite pronounced; males are nearly seven times more likely to fall victim to a deadly rip current than females. Weekends naturally have more fatalities than any other day of the week. As expected, summer season weekends are observed to have more fatalities than any other time of the year. July is the most hazardous month and is followed by August. The Muslim fasting month of Ramadan has a significant effect on reducing the fatalities with only six reported deaths during the period of 2007–2012.
... Barriers to changing attitudes and values may be based on misconceptions as well as beliefs. Several studies have found that some parents of children involved in swimming lessons had the attitude that their children needed less supervision once they had received swimming lessons (Moran & Stanley, 2006a;2006b;2014;Willcox-Pidgeon, Moran, & Kool, 2017). Sherker and colleagues (Sherker, Williamson, Hatfield, Brander, & Hayen, 2010) found that beachgoers between 30 and 49 years of age were more likely to swim outside of the flags believing themselves to be safe while those with children and those with a basic knowledge of rip currents were less likely to swim outside of the flags. ...
Article
Full-text available
Brenner, Moran, Stallman, Gilchrist and McVan, (2006) recommended that “swimming ability be promoted as a necessary component of water competence, but with the understanding that swimming ability alone is [often] not sufficient to prevent drowning” (pg. 116). Tradition and expert opinion are no longer enough. Science can now help us select essential competencies. What does research evidence show us about the protective value of specific individual personal competencies? Since the term “water competence’’ was coined by Langendorfer and Bruya (1995), and adapted for drowning prevention by Moran (2013), it has gained in use. It is indeed more inclusive than “swimming skill’’ alone. It re-emphasizes the need for a broad spectrum of physical aquatic competencies as well as the integration of cognitive and affective competencies. The purpose of this article is to a) define water competence, b) support each competence recommended as essential with examples of research evidence, and c) suggest areas requiring further research.
... Drozdzewski et al. (2012) surveyed people who had been caught in a rip current and survived. Williamson et al. (2012) compared attitudes and knowledge of beachgoers from rural inland residents and international tourists in Australia concerning beach safety. An important outcome of this study was that the odds of international tourists making a safe swimming choice in the vicinity of a rip current were three times lower than usual beachgoers and rural inland residents. ...
Chapter
Full-text available
Offshore directed currents formed in the surf zone due to breaking waves are called “rip currents” and essentially typical to the oceans. Being a nearly closed basin, the Black Sea is probably the only exception with frequent rip currents on its beaches. As the name implies, the rip currents run counter to the incoming waves and establish itself as a strong stream channel with somewhat different colour. The prominent characteristic of running against the waves is a rather puzzling aspect of rip currents therefore their occurrence and generation mechanism require careful examination. Particularly in countries with shores facing the oceans such as Australia and United States, numerous studies and articles are available regarding rip currents, their formation, and related drowning incidents. Coasts of the Black Sea, while harbouring many rip currents, have not received much attention in this aspect. Apparently, no study on rip currents seems to be undertaken in Turkey until relatively recently.
... Good and professional swimmers may have a higher ability to recognize the rip current phenomenon and subsequently know how to escape from the rips. Most studies depicted that better swimmers were found to know more about the rip currents (Williamson et al. 2012;Drozdzewski et al. 2015;Fallon et al. 2017). ...
Article
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Rip currents are one of the coastal hazards that put Malaysian beachgoers in a risky position. Most of the drowning accidents that occur at beaches worldwide are closely associated with this phenomenon. Research on rip currents is needed to build an effective measuring tool to overcome these issues. However, to date, research on rip currents is mainly focused on its physical aspects, commonly concentrating on the processes that influence and relate to the rips' generation. As an effort to minimize the negative consequences exerted by the rips, there is an urgent need to enhance the rip-related research in the social sciences field. Comprehensive research that includes all fields might produce more beneficial and reliable information. Therefore, this study intends to examine the level of public understanding of rip currents and beach safety knowledge of the Teluk Cempedak Beach. A questionnaire comprising 5 sections and 31 questions was developed as the primary tool in this study. A total of 60 beachgoers have been surveyed for this preliminary study through a questionnaire to investigate their demographic profile, frequency of visiting the beach, swimming ability, and their knowledge of rip currents and beach safety. The results show that the beachgoers have poor knowledge of rip currents. Conversely, they are observed to have higher beach safety knowledge. Also, the findings help in filling the research gaps of this study in terms of the instrument used for the data collection procedure. Above all, an extension of this study may contribute to the development of beneficial tools in assessing public knowledge on beach safety and rip currents throughout Malaysian beaches. Supplementary information: The online version contains supplementary material available at (10.1007/s11069-021-04613-z).
... The survey structure and questions were modelled on previous Australian beachgoer surveys [28,32,34], then modified for the Southern Asian community through an online workshop held on November 19, 2020. The workshop included representatives from community groups and organisations working with the Southern Asian community in Australia. ...
Article
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Multicultural communities in Australia are recognised as a priority area for drowning prevention, but no evidence-based study has addressed their knowledge of beach safety. This study used an online survey tool to identify and examine risk factors relating to swimming ability, beach visitation characteristics and behaviour, and beach safety knowledge of the Australian Southern Asian community to assist in the development of future beach safety interventions. Data was obtained through 249 online and in-person surveys of people aged > 18 years. Most respondents reported poor swimming ability (80%), often swam in in the absence of lifeguards (77%), did not understand the rip current hazard (58%), but reported that they entered the water (76%) when visiting beaches. Close to one-quarter (28%) had not heard, or didn’t know the purpose, of the red and yellow beach flags, which identify lifeguard supervised areas on Australian beaches. Length of time living in Australia is an important beach safety consideration for this community, with minimal differences in terms of gender and age. Those who have lived < 10 years in Australia visit beaches more frequently and are less likely to have participated in swimming lessons, be able to swim, heard of the flags or swim between them, understand rip currents, or have participated in a beach safety program. Very few (3%) respondents received beach safety information from within their own community. The importance of beach safety education and swimming lessons within the Southern Asian community should be prioritised for new and recent migrants to Australia.
... Malahan pengetahuan tentang laluan arus balik (rip current) akan memastikan pihak pengurusan pantai memantau keselamatan pengunjung pantai ketika berenang (Dalrympe et al., 2011;Houser et al., 2015). Williamson et al. (2012) dan Houser et al. (2015 mendapati bahawa pilihan lokasi untuk berenang menjadi penyumbang utama kepada risiko keselamatan dan kejadian lemas di pantai. Aktiviti berenang di kawasan strategik yang telah ditandakan dengan bendera keselamatan, papan tanda keselamatan dan mempunyai pengawal pantai adalah pilihan paling selamat fizikal semula jadi, empat komponen utama dan aspek-aspek berkaitan diperincikan. ...
... Visitors' lack of knowledge regarding ocean hazards is common, and a major predisposing factor to injury. 13 Signs are highly visible on most beaches but may have limited impact. 14 Recent injury prevention strategies have included web based applications to advise beach goers of current ocean conditions (hawaiibeachsafety.com), and addition of lifeguard coverage to one unpatrolled high-risk beach. ...
Article
Spinal cord injury remains one of the most devastating forms of traumatic injury. The purpose of this study was to characterize the clinical characteristics of spinal cord injury patients and the geographic location where the injury occurred in the state of Hawai'i. Spinal cord injury cases from 2009-2017 were identified using the State Trauma Registry, which included demographics, mechanism of injury, and outcomes. In 1170 spinal cord injury cases, the second most frequent etiology was an ocean-wave related incident. Over half of wave related spinal cord injury occurred on ten beaches on four islands. Compared to other mechanisms, patients with wave related spinal cord injury were significantly less likely to be Hawai'i residents (15%), screen positive for alcohol (4%), or have an injury in the lower thoracic or lumbar region (4%). These patients were also less likely to die (1%) and more likely to be discharged to home (66%). Wave related incidents are a major cause of spinal cord injury in Hawai'i, disproportionately affecting visitors. Education focused toward middle-aged male visitors at beaches with moderate to severe shorebreak may reduce the incidence of injury.
... Beachgoers are exposed to drowning risk related to rip currents. This is due to a range of factors such as: unfamiliarity with the environment and associated hazards (Ballantyne et al. 2005;Clifford et al. 2018;Moran and Ferner 2017), poor swimming abilities (Drozdzewski et al. 2015;Williamson et al. 2012) and inattention when on vacation (Clifford et al. 2018;Wilks and Pendergast 2010). Every year, hundreds of people drown and tens of thousands more are rescued from rip currents globally [e.g. ...
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Rip currents are one of the most significant environmental hazards for beachgoers and are of interest to coastal scientists. Several studies have been conducted to understand rip current dynamics, and several approaches for rip hazard assessment have been proposed. In general, the purpose is to provide knowledge and tools to support authorities and lifeguards in rip current risk prevention. This study proposes the application of an expeditious methodology to evaluate rip current hazard and risk, based on probability theory. The tested area was located along the Alassio beach, a renowned tourist destination located on the western Ligurian coast (NW Italy). A coastal video-monitoring system was used for rip currents individuation, whereas wave data were collected thanks to an oceanographic buoy managed by Regione Liguria. In detail, a yearly analysis was performed to identify the correspondence between rip currents and wave parameters data. The results showed that rip currents occur, in the study area, under moderate wave conditions (0.5 ≤ H s ≤ 1.34 m; 4.7 ≤ T m ≤ 7.0 s; 150 • N ≤ m ≤ 227 • N). Based on this analysis, an easy application of the probability theory was applied to evaluate the level of hazard. Moreover, considering the official tourist data, we also perform an expeditious rip currents risk evaluation. The results showed that the hazard level is considered high at annual time scale and moderate during the tourist season; the risk is related to seasonal presences. The study can propose a tool to support authorities and lifeguards in water safety planning and management.
... Previous work has shown that international beachgoers may be more at risk of drowning than residents due to their unfamiliarity with local hazards and risks (Wilks 2017;Wilks et al. 2003), language barriers and an overall relaxed attitude to safety while on holidays (Arozarena et al. 2018;Wilks 2017;Williamson et al. 2012). This attitude, aptly named "tourist brain," (Houser 2019) can also increase the consumption of alcohol during aquatic activities (Guse et al. 2007). ...
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International and domestic tourism is a growing industry in Costa Rica, with the most attractive places located along the coast. Despite their beauty, Costa Rican beaches can pose a high risk for foreign visitors: Drowning is the primary cause of unintentional death among international visitors. This study presents a comprehensive analysis of demographics, spatial and temporal trends of national and foreigner fatal drowning occurring at Costa Rican beaches during 2001–2019. For national beachgoers, teens and young male adults, ages 15–30 years are at greatest risk of drowning, while for foreigners, older adults ages 45–60 years exhibit higher risk. Temporal trends in drowning appear to be correlated with the number of beach visitors, which seem to be driven mainly by a combination of socioeconomical and climatic/weather factors. For instance, strong economic indicators for the Costa Rican population combined with good weather fostered during warm phases of El Niño Southern Oscillation attract more national beachgoers, which may increase the number of drowning deaths. These results will help authorities better understand the complex and dynamic drowning situation to develop better prevention strategies and policies that improve beach safety and raise awareness about coastal hazards and risk. Such actions will bolster the reputation of Costa Rica as a safe touristic destination.
... Although they did not satisfy the inclusion criteria, two studies reported protective factors associated with rural populations namely rural WA resident being more likely to have completed CPR training than metropolitan WA residents 50 and residents of a New South Wales rural town being less likely to make the wrong choice with respect to rip identification when compared to Australian beachgoers. 51 Rural-dwelling populations have been identified as an at-risk group for injury in the forthcoming National Injury Prevention Strategy and Australian Water Safety Strategy, thus necessitating tailored prevention strategies to address high rates of injury-related mortality and morbidity. This is true of drowning risk faced by rural populations in Australia; however, the published literature to date lacks evidence on effective interventions. ...
Article
Objective: To examine unintentional drowning by remoteness in Australia. Design: A systematic review of both peer‐reviewed and grey literature published between January 1990 and December 2019 (inclusive). Method: Using Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta‐Analysis guidelines, MEDLINE (Ovid), PubMed, EMBASE, Scopus, PsycINFO (ProQuest), SPORTDiscus and Google Scholar were searched for studies exploring fatal and non‐fatal unintentional drowning by remoteness. Epidemiological data, common factors and prevention strategies were extracted and mapped to Australian standard geographical classifications (major cities, inner regional, outer regional, remote and very remote). Level of evidence was assessed using Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation and prevention strategies aligned to the hierarchy of control. Result: Thirty‐two studies satisfied inclusion criteria (66% reporting epidemiology; 59% risk factors; and 44% prevention strategies). All (100%) included studies were assessed very low against Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation. Findings indicate rural populations (ie, excluding major cities) have higher rates of drowning positively correlated with increasing remoteness. Common factors included age (child), natural water bodies, undertaking boating and watercraft activities and alcohol consumption. While a range of prevention strategies has been proposed, only one study outlined a rural drowning prevention strategy which had been implemented and evaluated. Strategies were generally low on the hierarchy of control. Conclusion: Rural populations are proportionately over represented in drowning statistics. Proposed prevention strategies have unknown efficacy. Greater research into rural drowning of Australians is needed especially exploring behavioural motivations, program delivery, cost‐effectiveness and evaluation. Development and use of a standard definition for remoteness are recommended. Rural populations use water extensively; therefore, there is an urgent need to keep them safe.
... Moreover, the prospect of accelerating sea level rise due to climate changes (Kopp et al., 2014; has further increased public awareness of coastal hazards. The main hydro-and geomorphological-related risks for beach users can be identified in drownings due to rip currents (Cervantes et al., 2015;Silva-Cavalcanti et al., 2018), incoming waves (e.g., bathers held under by waves) (Short, 2007;Williamson et al., 2012) and injuries caused by the collision with hard structures (e.g., rocky coasts, coastal structures) (Tipton and Wooler, 2016) or by landslides (Karantanellis et al., 2019;Teixeira, 2014). In the recent ...
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Coastal areas represent one of the most important economic driving forces for entire countries. In the last decades, along coastal areas it has been observed a marked increase in risk of bathing due to the advent of mass tourism, particularly during the summer season. Local and global reports on bathing-related incidents highlight the importance of beach safety in coastal management. This paper describes a cost-effective and semi-quantitative approach for beach safety and sea bathing risk estimation. The methodology was applied to a coastal stretch located in eastern Liguria (north western Italy, Ligurian Sea), which is characterized by high tourism vocation and can be considered indicative of some main features of Mediterranean shores. The peculiar geomorphological and hydrodynamic hazard descriptors and the beach accessibility (i.e., the exposure of bathers to hazard) of the study area have been evaluated by means of open source archive information, field surveys and expert judgement. Subsequently, probability theory was used to estimate the Hazard Index and the Risk of Bathing Index. The resulting zoning maps show that beach safety and risk of bathing do not have a uniform distribution along this coastal sector since both hazard and risk conditioning variables can frequently change from one site to another. Considering the large and rapidly expanding tourism activities in coastal environments, the obtained zoning maps reveal that the proposed method can be a flexible and simple tool for stakeholders in charge of coastal management. The proposed approach may be also adapted to other coastal-type environments by means of an accurate identification of hazard and beach accessibility descriptors that better characterise the stretch of coast under consideration.
... Although an important component, it is important to note that increased knowledge or awareness alone does not necessarily lead to changes in safety behaviour [72]. Some studies incorporated health theory and/or behaviour change approaches [51,[73][74][75][76][77][78][79], which are likely to make education efforts more efficacious [80], but many studies provided only ambiguous suggestions for educating the public or increasing awareness. Education efforts that seek to improve knowledge, increase awareness of risk and inform attitudes and beliefs play a central role in a cohesive systems level approach to preventing coastal drowning, however, future research must consider return on investment and if viable, the optimal messages, methods and age at which this education should be delivered. ...
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Objective: Coastal drowning is a global public health problem which requires evidence to support safety initiatives. The growing multidisciplinary body of coastal drowning research and associated prevention countermeasures is diverse and has not been characterised as a whole. The objective of this scoping review was to identify key concepts, findings, evidence and research gaps in the coastal drowning literature to guide future research and inform prevention activities. Methods: We conducted a scoping review to identify peer reviewed studies published before May 2020 reporting either (i) fatal unintentional coastal drowning statistics from non-boating,-disaster or-occupational aetiologies; (ii) risk factors for unintentional fatal coastal drowning; or (iii) coastal drowning prevention strategies. Systematic searches were conducted in six databases, two authors independently screened studies for inclusion and one author extracted data using a standardised data charting form developed by the study team. Results: Of the 146 included studies, the majority (76.7%) were from high income countries, 87 (59.6%) reported coastal drowning deaths, 61 (41.8%) reported risk factors, and 88 (60.3%) reported prevention strategies. Populations, data sources and coastal water site terminology in the studies varied widely; as did reported risk factors, which most frequently related to demographics such as gender and age. Prevention strategies were commonly based on survey data or expert opinion and primarily focused on education, lifeguards and signage. Few studies (n = 10) evaluated coastal drowning prevention strategies. Discussion: Coastal drowning is an expansive, multidisciplinary field that demands cross-sector collaborative research. Gaps to be addressed in coastal safety research include the lack of research from lower resourced settings, unclear and inconsistent terminology and reporting, and the lack of evaluation for prevention strategies. Advancing coastal drowning science will result in a stronger evidence base from which to design and implement effective countermeasures that ultimately save lives and keep people safe.
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Drowning on rocky coasts is a problem with global significance, but it is a particularly acute issue in Australia where rocky coasts account for 19% of coastal drownings. The risk of drowning is often framed as a consequence of waves washing over shore platforms, which sweep unsuspecting victims into the sea. Although the physical processes of ‘wave overtopping’ are understood, few studies have investigated which elements of shore platform environments are perceived as being hazardous. Using coastal regions of Victoria, Australia, as the case, this study explores how Victoria’s lifesaving community perceives risk on shore platforms. These perceptions are then compared to quantitative risk ratings to analyse whether physical risk assessments designed by coastal risk experts align with lifesavers’ perceptions. Lifesavers are non-certified risk ‘experts’, whose safety training and exposure to hazardous situations inform their ‘experiential-expertise’, which is contrasted with the more common quantitative and science-based ‘expert’ risk assessments. The aim is to explore lifesavers perceptions of risk and to contrast two different ‘expert’ constructions of risk; one of which is experience based and the other a more traditional quantitative output of modelling. Exploration of this type of ‘expert’–expert hazard contrast is lacking with a management focus on lay perceptions. To understand how lifesavers perceive risk on shore platforms, the authors explore risk as relational. This conceptual approach takes an important first step towards thinking about risk as more than the simple combination of physical wave overtopping process and social perceptions. Instead, it seeks to understand the socio-environmental interactions that are perceived as hazardous. Data for this analysis were collected via an online questionnaire of Surf Life Saving Australia membership whose patrols are within 1 km of a shore platform in Victoria, Australia (n = 4683). By thinking about risk as relational, ‘slipping’ emerges as an under-explored hazard on shore platforms, despite being the main contributor to how lifesavers, themselves, unintentionally entered the sea. This study shows that the prevailing way of framing risk—perpetuated by the media and expert risk models—is often divorced from how risk is perceived by ‘experiential-experts’. This suggests coastal risk policy needs to integrate perceptions of the socio-environmental interactions that produce risk with the aim of accommodating the relational ways people perceive risk on shore platforms.
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Objective The aim of the present study was to determine whether a 1-day basic life support (BLS) training program can significantly increase emergency response readiness for primary school children. Methods One hundred and seven children aged 11-12 years completed a program led by surf lifesaving instructors. A 50-item quiz was administered 1 week before and 1 and 8 weeks after training. Results Significant improvements were gained in knowledge of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR; P<0.001), the response sequence for emergency situations (DRSABCD action plan) and various emergency scenarios, including choking (P<0.001) and severe bleeding (P<0.001). Knowledge and understanding were retained at the 8-week follow-up. Stud.s reported increased confidence in assisting others after training, consistent with previous studies. Conclusions A 1-day training program can significantly increase BLS knowledge and confidence to provide assistance in an emergency situation. Findings reinforce the value of school-based training that provides a general foundation for emergency response readiness.
Chapter
Rip currents are strong, narrow seaward flows found on many global beaches where waves break across a surf zone. They represent a major hazard to bathers contributing to hundreds of drownings and tens of thousands of rescues annually. Most rip currents occupy deep channels situated between shallow sandbars or against structures. Rip current flow is unsteady with mean velocities typically on the order of 0.3-0.5. m/s, but with instantaneous flows in excess of 2. m/s. Recent field, laboratory, and numerical modeling studies have challenged traditional views of rip current behavior and, in combination with lifeguard reports, have helped improve understanding of the physical environmental factors leading to maximum rip current risk. Although collaborative research efforts between rip current scientists and beach safety organizations are increasing, significant challenges remain for improving and communicating education and awareness of the rip current hazard to the beachgoing public.
Chapter
Coastal and marine tourism is the largest segment of the travel industry, historically associated with the Sun, Sand and Sea imagery of beach holidays, and more recently inclusive of a broad range of boating and watercraft activities within what has been termed Blue Tourism. The health and safety of visitors in water-based environments is particularly important as the consequences of an incident can result in drowning or more serious injuries than on land. This chapter describes the activities of tourists in coastal and marine environments, where they are likely to experience difficulties and the services available through various government agencies and organisations to assist them. A particular focus is on the legal responsibilities and duties of care owed to tourists, recognising that for many visitors water-based environments are very unfamiliar settings. The chapter concludes by looking at innovations and initiatives in coastal and marine tourism in response to COVID-19 and how safety contributes to greater enjoyment of the marine environment.
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Rip currents at beaches are a public health hazard, with the potential to have serious socio-economic impacts on coastal communities globally, particularly those that depend on tourists. The potential for drowning or rescue depends on a combination of physical and social factors, and this is the first study to examine the relationship amongst the presence and location of rips, beach user intentions and behavior, and the hazard level identified by the lifeguards. Results of a survey administered in the summer of 2019 at Cavendish Beach and Brackley Beaches along the north shore of Prince Edward Island (PEI), Canada, suggests that beach user intention and perception of the rip current hazard may not accurately reflect their actions. Despite being aware of beach hazards, most beach users and in particular the tourists to the area, did not observe beach warnings. Their activity on the beach also appears to be influenced by the design of the beach access and the presence of other beach users. Respondents who could not recall the hazard level defined by beach flags and signs on the boardwalk tended to sit further away from the access point and lifeguards. Most of the respondents were tourists who were at a higher risk of needing rescue or drowning caused by rip currents due to their lack of rip knowledge and familiarity with those beaches. It is argued that the potential for drownings and rescues can be mitigated through changes in the design of the beach access and the distribution of lifeguard resources, but further research into the correspondence of beach user perception, lifesaving strategies and rip currents is required.
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This study aimed to explore beach-related hazard perception skills of surf lifeguards, swimming-pool lifeguards, and patrons who served as control. Participants were exposed to twenty-nine, 10s long video clips depicting real-world hazardous surf situations footage taken along Israeli Mediterranean beaches from a lifeguard tower perspective. While observing each video clip, participants were asked to press a response button in case they identify a surf situation that may pose a drowning threat for bathers. We examined the participants' eye-movement data and behavioral responses throughout the study.
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Rip currents (“rips”) are the leading cause of drowning on surf beaches worldwide. A major contributing factor is that many beachgoers are unable to identify rip currents. Previous research has attempted to quantify beachgoers' rip identification ability using photographs of rip currents without identifying whether this usefully translates into an ability to identify a rip current in situ at the beach. This study is the first to compare beachgoers ability to identify rip currents in photographs and in situ at a beach in New Zealand (Muriwai Beach) where a channel rip current was present. Only 22 % of respondents were able to identify the in situ rip current. The highest rates of success were for males (33 %), New Zealand residents (25 %), and local beach users (29 %). Of all respondents who were successful at identifying the rip current in situ, 62 % were active surfers/bodyboarders, and 28 % were active beach swimmers. Of the respondents who were able to identify a rip current in two photographs, only 34 % were able to translate this into a successful in situ rip identification, which suggests that the ability to identify rip currents by beachgoers is worse than reported by previous studies involving photographs. This study highlights the difficulty of successfully identifying a rip current in reality and that photographs are not necessarily a useful means of teaching individuals to identify rip currents. It advocates for the use of more immersive and realistic education strategies, such as the use of virtual reality headsets showing moving imagery (videos) of rip currents in order to improve rip identification ability.
Chapter
Swimming is a popular holiday activity in tropical tourism destinations but is not risk free. Aside from the obvious risks of drowning, tropical waters harbour a number of marine animals that have the potential to injure or even kill unwary swimmers. Sharks, marine jellyfish and crocodiles may pose threats. From a destination perspective, strategies need to be implemented that firstly reduce the risk of injury and secondly care for swimmers who are injured. This paper first reports on the results of a survey of swimmers that examines a range of swimming-related behaviours then proposes an action pathway model that may be implemented by destinations to reduce risk for swimmers.
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Risk is a complex concept, with its conceptualizations depending on epistemological perspectives and methodological approaches of the various research disciplines it is embedded within. It was the aim of this literature review to provide a scientific basis to understand how current academic research has approached the phenomenon of risk in the context of nature-based tourism and recreation. Using a systematic quantitative literature review method, we assessed how risk was conceptualized in a selection of 59 original research papers that have been published in English language peer-reviewed academic journals from 2000 to 2015. We identified fundamental differences in the perspectives taken by researchers discussing risk. Whilst 37 papers (63%) viewed risk as a potential negative consequence of participating in recreational outdoor activities, 22 studies (37%) investigated risk as a meaningful component of the outdoor experience dimension. The presented review led to the identification of specific risk factors that increase the likelihood of negative outcomes as well as potential benefits from participation, and also offers an overview of underlying psychological processes involved in the participation in ‘risky’ nature-based activities. Further research implications are discussed.
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Rip currents pose a major global beach hazard; estimates of annual rip current related deaths in the United States alone range from 35 to 100 per year. Despite increased social research into beach-goer experience, little is known about levels of rip current knowledge within the general population. This study describes results of an online survey to determine the extent of rip current knowledge across the United States, with the aim of improving and enhancing existing beach safety education material. Results suggest that the Break the Grip of the Rip® campaign has been successful in educating the public about rip current safety directly or indirectly, with the majority of respondents able to provide an accurate description of how to escape a rip current. However, the success of the campaign is limited by discrepancies between personal observations at the beach and rip forecasts that are broadcasted for a large area and time. It was the infrequent beach user that identified the largest discrepancies between the forecast and their observations. Since infrequent beach users also do not seek out lifeguards or take the same precautions as frequent beach users, it is argued that they are also at greatest risk of being caught in a dangerous situation. Results of this study suggest a need for the national campaign to provide greater focus on locally specific and verified rip forecasts and signage in coordination with lifeguards, but not at the expense of the successful national awareness program.
Thesis
Les côtes girondines, dans le Sud-Ouest de la France, sont façonnées par les conditions océaniques. Les plages de sables y présentent des dangers tels que les courants d'arrachement et les vagues de bord. Ces phénomènes sont la cause de noyades et de traumatismes potentiellement graves, nécessitant des dispositifs de surveillance et de secours.Les objectifs de cette thèse étaient d'enrichir les connaissances utiles à l'intervention sur les noyades et traumatismes liés aux vagues selon plusieurs axes : en décrivant la population des victimes, en modélisant les risques et en déterminant les actions nécessaires à leur prévention.Dans un premier temps, les caractéristiques démographiques et la gravité des noyades et des traumatismes ont été décrites. En analysant les appels au Service d'Aide Médicale d'Urgence de la Gironde, 652 noyades et 814 traumatismes ont été recensés. À partir de ces données et en intégrant les observations météorologiques, un modèle de prévision du risque de noyade sur le littoral océanique girondin a été créé. Il a été ensuite validé, sur les données météorologiques prévisionnelles. Le risque de noyade liée aux courants d'arrachement peut ainsi être anticipé trois jours à l'avance. Les risques de traumatismes liés aux vagues de bord ont également fait l'objet de modélisation.Un cadre théorique de modélisation de l'histoire naturelle de la noyade à l'aide d'un processus de Markov à temps continu a été proposé. Il a permis, entre autre, de quantifier l'impact théorique d'une réduction du délai des secours sur la gravité des noyades. Une réduction du délai de médian des secours de 15 à 10 minutes permettrait une diminution de moitié des cas de noyade graves.Enfin, l'utilisation des prévisions du risque dans une action de prévention a été discuté à partir de concepts issus d'une revue de la littérature. Ces travaux permettront de mettre en place et d'évaluer une action de prévention de la traumatologie océane en Gironde.
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Many tourists drown on beaches worldwide and an ongoing challenge is improving their behaviour and awareness in relation to beach safety and hazards. However, existing safety interventions are often limited in reach. Bondi Rescue is a television show based on the lifeguards at Bondi Beach, Sydney, Australia that has been viewed by millions globally. This study examines the value of Bondi Rescue as a potential global beach safety intervention. Data was obtained from video content analysis of Bondi Rescue and an online survey of 1852 global viewers. Positive outcomes from watching Bondi Rescue include improved awareness of the rip current hazard and the importance of swimming near lifeguards. 78% of respondents felt that watching the show improved their beach safety knowledge significantly. Bondi Rescue is particularly effective for improving beach safety awareness of international viewers who are infrequent beachgoers who might not otherwise receive any beach safety information.
Chapter
Rip currents are concentrated flows of water flowing out to sea faster than the surrounding waves. These currents form as a result of alongshore variations in wave set-up driven by variable nearshore morphology or hard structures that interrupt the longshore current. Recent research from the United States, Costa Rica, Australia, and the United Kingdom suggests that the beach going public is mostly unaware of how to identify, avoid, and escape rip currents. As a result, hundreds of rip current related deaths occur worldwide each year, making rip currents a global health hazard. While an increasing number of programs are created in coastal countries, many aimed at increasing public awareness and education, signage, or improving lifeguard programs, there is increasing evidence that existing warning systems and signage are ineffective because beach users are unable to translate the warning into a real-world feature. Further evidence suggests that beach access management can inadvertently steer unsuspecting beach users towards rip-prone areas, increasing the chances of a drowning occurring on that beach. For example, alongshore variations in the offshore bathymetry at Pensacola Beach, Florida responsible for semi-permanent rip-prone sections of the beach are also responsible for the development of relatively small dunes in the backshore. Beach access points were preferentially built in the areas with smaller dunes, thereby focusing beach-users towards the most rip-prone sections of the beach. In another example from Jaco Beach, Costa Rica, public beach access points are adjacent to stream outlets that are responsible for creating a nearshore terrace and rip morphology, and are focusing beach users’ access and activity towards rip-prone sections of the beach. In contrast, the evenly spaced beach access ramps from the seawall down to the sand of Australia’s famous Bondi Beach in Sydney do not focus beach-users and activity towards rip-prone sections of the beach. However, the placement of a popular bus stop and hostels invite the most vulnerable and unaware beach users swimmers towards the southern end of the beach with a large semi-permanent rip current called the “Backpacker’s Express.” Through these examples, we conclude that when developers do not consider beach and nearshore geomorphology in their designs for beach access management, they may lead unsuspecting and unaware beach users towards the rip hazard and increase the potential for drownings.
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Beachgoing experiences are highly desirable among international tourists visiting Australia. Beach use has been popularised in the contemporary Australian imaginary influencing how locals behave at the beach and setting an example to visitors. Many of the behaviours that Australian beach users’ display can be classed as risky. How and why tourists enact certain risky behaviours in their attempts to comply with beach going norms in Australia is not well known. The imagined beachgoing psyche of tourists describes a disconnection between pre-conceptions about risk at the beach and the reality of actual risks and hazards. The pursuit of thrill and risk while on holiday work to reconcile tourist attitudes about their often safety-averse behaviours, helping to explain why beach safety is often ignored, accidentally and purposefully. The influence of other social phenomena, such as the amplification of risk, interactive risk and group norms, contribute to tourists’ beach behaviours in Australia. Beachgoer questionnaires and interview testimonies triangulated results using a mixed-method-research approach that identifies the mechanisms that lead to an incoherence between understandings of danger and safe behaviours, which were specific to the socio-spatial context of the Australian beach space. There is much ambiguity in the nature of the Australian beach holiday, where the tourist beachgoer can choose between behaviours of escape (to relax) and excite (to take risks). This can lead to the conflation of these contrasting, yet spatially connected, pursuits.
Article
Drowning is a leading cause of unintentional fatalities around the world, yet on beaches is often preventable through public education campaigns and intervention activities from lifeguards. In 2006, the UK beach lifeguarding community approached the Coastal Processes Research Group (CPRG) at University of Plymouth, UK, with a need to better understand the key hazards on UK beaches and how to foresee and manage the associated risks. In some cases there simply was not sufficient scientifically-robust understanding of certain hazards (for example rip currents) available for lifeguard managers to make objective, data-driven decisions on how to manage them. This paper documents the resulting 15-year body of work, and reflects upon the education, outreach, and other research impacts that have been created, and lessons learned along the way. By furthering fundamental coastal processes understanding of such things as beach classification and rip current dynamics, as well as applying science to challenges such as predicting beach life-risk and times of peak bathing hazard, the ongoing collaboration between lifeguards and academics continues to inform beach safety management in a number of countries around the world. Initiating research with clear aims and objectives that are driven by, and developed in conjunction with, the end-user, as opposed to starting with outcomes prescribed to the end-user by academics, has been an important factor in the success (or failure) of these scientific ventures. CPRG's research activities in the field of beach safety has been scientifically rewarding and have achieved significant impacts. We attribute this to: (1) sustained level of high-quality research; (2) continued effort spent on building long-term relationships with end-users; (3) co-creation of dissemination material and tools; (4) acceptance that it takes time and effort to achieve research impact; and (5) critically evaluating and reflecting on the research impacts. Ultimately, the ongoing collaboration has contributed to a ‘continuing trend of decline in accidental fatalities around our coastlines’, and such collaborations in other parts of the world continue to play a vital role in reducing coastal drowning globally.
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Along the 190 km of the Israeli Mediterranean coast, of which only about two-thirds is accessible to bathing activities, there are about 100 statutory surf bathing beaches guarded by professional sea lifeguards. The rest of the accessible Israeli Mediterranean coastline is divided into two additional legal categories, which are not guarded: (A) beaches where bathing is forbidden by governmental ordinance because they are too dangerous. (B) Beaches where swimming is freely permitted but not guarded. The estimated number of drowning victims in the Israeli Mediterranean surf since 1948 is about 2200. Reported drowning data show that, since 1973, the number of drownings in the surf has been about 1200 victims. There are almost no drownings reported within the perimeters of the official guarded beaches. The Israeli Mediterranean relative drowning number (RDN) in the surf per million inhabitants reveals for the last 32 years a long-term quasi-stable average of 8.1 and a SD of 2.7. The estimated average number of drownings for the present population would be about 56 victims. The Israeli RDN is higher than that of other Mediterranean countries and probably of other beaches in the world. In this article, I study the Israeli beach-safety management (BSM) schemes and identify and examine the various long-term and short-term temporal variations in drowning patterns, some demographic patterns leading to the identification of some risk groups and some other human, cultural, and managerial factors that seem to be typical for Israeli beaches and relate them to the drowning statistics. The high drowning figures in Israel seem to reflect both the meteorological and oceanographic conditions of Israel's Mediterranean coast and the BSM schemes. I suggest that Israeli RDN can, however, be reduced by proper modern scientific and managerial approach.
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SHORT, A D, 2006, Australian Rip Systems - Friend or Foe? Journal of Coastal Research, SI 50, (Proceedings of the 9 th International Coastal Symposium), 7 - 11, Gold Coast, Australia, ISSN 0749.0208 Since MCKENZIE'S (1956) classic article on rip currents in the Sydney region, rips have been recognised scientifically as an integral and important component of wave-dominated beaches in Australian and globally. Rips received less formal, but more important, recognition more than 50 years earlier, when Australian's began bathing in large numbers in the surf. The immediate result was a number of drowning owing to bathers being caught in rip currents and carried seaward. In the Sydney region where surf bathing was only legally permitted in 1902, the resulting rash of drowning in 1902 and 1903 lead to the formation of the world's first surf life saving clubs in 1903 and Surfing Life Saving Australia in 1907, an organization which now oversees 305 surf life saving clubs. Since 1949 when recordings begun it is estimated the lifesavers have rescued 300 000 people from the surf in New South Wales alone, the vast majority (~90%) from rip currents. This paper will examine the nature of rip currents, including the four types of rips; their role in surf zone morphodynamics; their nature and distribution around the Australian coast; the hazard they pose to swimmers; and ways we can mitigate this risk.
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To determine the success of resuscitations performed by Queensland surf lifesavers and the factors associated with successful resuscitation. Retrospective case survey, using data from Surf Life Saving Association of Australia resuscitation report forms. 54 Queensland beaches patrolled by surf lifesavers, and nearby areas, between 1973 and 1992. Reasons and success rates for resuscitation, distance from surf clubhouse, whether inside patrolled area, victim's age, sex, facial colour on presentation, occurrence of vomiting, airway difficulties and involvement of alcohol. 171 resuscitations were reported (80% involving males and 20% females), with a success rate of 67%. Seventy-two per cent were performed during patrol hours, 17% within patrolled areas (95% successful) and 55% outside patrolled areas (only 62% successful) (P = 0.004 for difference in success rates); resuscitation success rates fell with increasing distance from the surf clubhouse (P = 0.009). Reasons for resuscitation were: immersion, 70% (success rate, 68%); collapse, 22% (success rate, 47%); and surf or beach injury, 7% and 1%, respectively (success rate, 100% for each). Resuscitation was more likely to be successful if the victim's facial colour on presentation was normal, pale or blue, but not if grey, and if the victim did not vomit or regurgitate. Resuscitation by surf lifesavers was highly successful when the victim was close to the surf patrol, indicating a need for funding to expand patrol areas. Public awareness of the greater safety of "bathing between the flags" (in the delineated patrol area) should be increased.
Article
Presents an integrative theoretical framework to explain and to predict psychological changes achieved by different modes of treatment. This theory states that psychological procedures, whatever their form, alter the level and strength of self-efficacy. It is hypothesized that expectations of personal efficacy determine whether coping behavior will be initiated, how much effort will be expended, and how long it will be sustained in the face of obstacles and aversive experiences. Persistence in activities that are subjectively threatening but in fact relatively safe produces, through experiences of mastery, further enhancement of self-efficacy and corresponding reductions in defensive behavior. In the proposed model, expectations of personal efficacy are derived from 4 principal sources of information: performance accomplishments, vicarious experience, verbal persuasion, and physiological states. Factors influencing the cognitive processing of efficacy information arise from enactive, vicarious, exhortative, and emotive sources. The differential power of diverse therapeutic procedures is analyzed in terms of the postulated cognitive mechanism of operation. Findings are reported from microanalyses of enactive, vicarious, and emotive modes of treatment that support the hypothesized relationship between perceived self-efficacy and behavioral changes. (21/2 p ref)
Article
Coastal drownings claim on average 82 people per year in Australia. Beach flags are a primary safety strategy used on beaches. They are located away from rip currents, which are the main beach hazard affecting swimmers. Little is known about the behavioural and motivational factors associated with people choosing where to swim in relation to flags and rips. To assess the beliefs and behaviours of beachgoers in relation to beach flags and rip currents. Beachgoers at beaches in NSW were interviewed about their swimming beliefs and behaviours. They were asked to indicate on pictures depicting beach scenarios involving beach flags and fixed rip currents, where they would and would not swim. Logistic regression analysis was undertaken to determine predictors of correct and incorrect swimming behaviour. Beachgoers who are aged from 30 to 49 years (OR 0.34, 95% CI 0.16, 0.74, p=0.006) are less likely to choose to swim between the flags than other swimmers. In addition, beachgoers who are at the beach with children are significantly more likely to choose to swim between the flags (OR 2.74, 95% CI 1.39, 5.40, p=0.004). Beachgoers with basic knowledge about rip currents are significantly more likely to swim away from the rip (OR 11.59, 95% CI 5.89, 22.81, p<0.001). Ocean swimmers aged from 30 to 49 years may choose to swim outside the flags, though they may not necessarily be swimming in the rip. Swimming outside of the flags may be linked with experience. The flags appear to be attractive to parents and carers of children. Whilst the flags indicate a relatively safe area of the beach, it is still vitally important for parents and carers to supervise children in this area. Basic rip current knowledge is an essential component in developing national interventions aimed at reducing coastal drowning. Beachgoers clearly need to know what a rip looks like in order to actively avoid swimming in it.
Article
The present article presents an integrative theoretical framework to explain and to predict psychological changes achieved by different modes of treatment. This theory states that psychological procedures, whatever their form, alter the level and strength of self-efficacy. It is hypothesized that expectations of per- sonal efficacy determine whether coping behavior will be initiated, how much effort will be expended, and how long it will be sustained in the face of ob- stacles and aversive experiences. Persistence in activities that are subjectively threatening but in fact relatively safe produces, through experiences of mastery, further enhancement of self-efficacy and corresponding reductions in defensive behavior. In the proposed model, expectations of personal efficacy are derived from four principal sources of information: performance accomplishments, vicarious experience, verbal persuasion, and physiological states. The more de- pendable the experiential sources, the greater are the changes in perceived self- efficacy. A number of factors are identified as influencing the cognitive processing of efficacy information arising from enactive, vicarious, exhortative, and emotive sources. The differential power of diverse therapeutic procedures is analyzed in terms of the postulated cognitive mechanism of operation. Findings are reported from microanalyses of enactive, vicarious, and emotive modes of treatment that support the hypothesized relationship between perceived self-efficacy and be- havioral changes. Possible directions for further research are discussed.
Article
To examine the causes and circumstances of snorkelling deaths in Australia from 1987 to 1996. Retrospective case extraction. CASES AND DATA SOURCES: 60 snorkelling deaths extracted from an ongoing diving fatality survey and from coroners' reports. Further details were obtained from police reports, diving industry (incorporating commercial operators, relevant government departments and instructors' organisations) inquiries and coronal inquests. Cause of death (determined by the authors from information obtained and from detailed autopsy findings) and the circumstances surrounding death. 15 of the 60 snorkellers who died were female. The three major causes of death were drowning (27 cases), cardiac events (18) and hypoxia with breath-holding after hyperventilation and/or during ascent producing unconsciousness then drowning (12). Overseas tourists were notable among those who drowned, while middle-aged men dominated the group who died of cardiac events (mostly on the surface). Those who died of breath-holding hypoxia were all young, Australian and male. The use of "buddy" diving was infrequent overall, and many of those who drowned or suffered cardiac events were not wearing flippers to aid propulsion. Adverse environmental conditions were implicated in 14 deaths. Hyperventilation to increase breath-hold time is a dangerous practice which should be discouraged. Safety measures, such as the use of flippers for propulsion and employment of the "buddy" system, should be encouraged, and made mandatory in commercial diving operations.
Article
To determine patterns of victims, circumstances and locations of drownings in Australia in 1992-1997, inclusive. Population figures and available details of all drownings were obtained from the Australian Bureau of Statistics. Accidental non-boating drownings (ICD E910), boating incidents (E830-832), homicide (E964), suicide (E954), and other deaths without a drowning E code but "flagged" because drowning was involved (although not the primary cause of death) were included. The overall accidental non-boating drowning rate was 1.44/100,000 population/year. The commonest sites for non-boating drowning were ocean or estuary (22%), private swimming pools (17%), non-tidal lakes and lagoons (17%), surfing beach (10%) and bathtub (7%). 22% of victims were aged under 5 years; this group had a drowning rate of 4.6/100,000 population/year. Very few young children drowned in the ocean or in boating incidents. The rate of boating drownings was 0.29/100,000 population/year. Overseas tourists comprised 4.7% of all non-boating drownings, 18% of surf and ocean drownings, and 25% of all scuba drownings. Indigenous people had a much higher drowning rate than the general population. Drownings in children aged less than 5 years continue to be the greatest challenge for water safety organisations and legislators. Drownings in the Indigenous community and among tourists requires more detailed study and action. To assist in developing preventive strategies, the National Water Safety Council will need to clarify the categories described as "ocean/estuary" and "lake, lagoon, dam and waterhole".
Article
We now have the Australian Water Safety Council and its National Water Safety Plan: the impact of these initiatives remains to be seen
Article
Unlabelled: Retrospective data extraction from two complementary mortality datasets determined the descriptive epidemiology and population rates in unintentional drowning deaths at surf beaches (n = 129). The annual average crude surf beach drowning rate was 0.28 per 100 000 population for males and 2.36 per 100 000 population for international tourists. The study generated hypotheses for risk assessment to assist Intervention: adult males, international tourists, people with cardiovascular conditions, and exposure to rip currents.
Drowning Deaths − Rural and Remote Australia. Sydney (AUST): Australian Water Safety Council
  • Simmonds El A Peden
  • Scarr
Franklin RC, Simmonds EL, Peden A, Scarr J. Drowning Deaths − Rural and Remote Australia. Sydney (AUST): Australian Water Safety Council; 2008.
Canberra (AUST): Australian Institute of Health and Welfare
  • G Henley
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Henley G, Harrison JE. Injury Deaths, Australia 2004-2005. Injury Research and Statistics Series 51. Canberra (AUST): Australian Institute of Health and Welfare; 2009.
Activities Fact Sheet − Year Ending Canberra (AUST): Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism
  • Tourism Australia
Tourism Research Australia. Activities Fact Sheet − Year Ending June 2009. Canberra (AUST): Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism; 2009.
Beach hazards and safety
  • A D Short
Short AD. Beach hazards and safety. In: Short AD, editor. Beach and Shoreface Morphodynamics. Chichester (UK): John Wiley & Sons; 1999. p. 292-304.
Injury Research and Statistics Series 51. Canberra (AUST): Australian Institute of Health and Welfare
  • G Henley
  • Je Harrison
Henley G, Harrison JE. Injury Deaths, Australia 2004-2005. Injury Research and Statistics Series 51. Canberra (AUST): Australian Institute of Health and Welfare; 2009.
Activities Fact Sheet − Year Ending
  • Tourism Research Australia
Tourism Research Australia. Activities Fact Sheet − Year Ending June 2009. Canberra (AUST): Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism; 2009.
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare
  • G Henley
  • J E Harrison
Henley G, Harrison JE. Injury Deaths, Australia 2004-2005. Injury Research and Statistics Series 51. Canberra (AUST): Australian Institute of Health and Welfare; 2009.
Drowning Deaths − Rural and Remote Australia
  • R C Franklin
  • E L Simmonds
  • A Peden
  • J Scarr
Franklin RC, Simmonds EL, Peden A, Scarr J. Drowning Deaths − Rural and Remote Australia. Sydney (AUST): Australian Water Safety Council; 2008.