The Australian Medical Association (AMA) has warned people to be careful when taking part in water recreation activities over the summer months, especially when alcohol is involved.
Professor Brian Owler, President of AMA, said that relaxing and playing in the water is a great way to spend time over summer, but adding alcohol to the mix is fraught with danger.
"Every summer there are tragic instances where people are seriously injured and even killed in situations involving alcohol and water consumption," Professor Owler said.
"Of the 350-400 cases of spinal cord injuries reported each year, nine percent are directly attributable to diving in shallow pools or surf, or from surfing. Make sure you and those around you are not taking unnecessary risks and putting yourself in danger."
According to the Royal Life Saving Society of Australia (RLSSA), 271 people drowned in Australian waterways between 1 July 2014 and 30 June 2015.
The largest number of drownings occur in December - January.
The RLSSA data show that:
- 99 (37 percent) drowning deaths occurred in inland waterways;
- 55 (20 percent) drowning deaths occurred at beaches;
- 36 (13 percent) drowning deaths occurred in ocean/harbour locations;
- 63 people (23 percent) were swimming and recreating immediately prior to drowning;
- 53 people (20 percent) were using watercraft immediately prior to drowning; and
- 43 people (16 percent) drowned as a result of falls into water.