The Lifesaving Society and the Drowning Prevention Research Centre Canada publish an annual, research-based Drowning Report that examines at drowning trends in Canada.
The Drowning Prevention Research Centre is the lead agency for drowning and water-incident research in Canada. The Centre conducts research into fatal and non-fatal drowning, significant aquatic injury and rescue interventions.
The annual drowning reports are informative tools for the general public, the media, and Lifesaving Society Instructors. The latest editions are available below as PDF files. Please contact the Branch office for access to older reports.
The most recent data available from the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner of Manitoba reveals that the drowning death rate has remained steady in 2013. After a surge in drowning deaths in 2011 (40), 2012 and 2013 saw a 50% decrease in the number of water-related fatalities (20), and a return to a more typical death rate of 1.6 per 100,000 population.
The most recent data available from the Chief Coroner’s and Medical Examiner’s offices reveal that the significant longterm progress in reducing death by drowning in Canada has continued. After a spike in the number of water-related fatalities in 2012 (495), the number dropped to 466 in 2013. An average of 473 people drowned each year in the most current five-year period (2009-2013), down from an average of 481 per year in 2004-2008
After a surge in drowning deaths in Manitoba in 2011 (40), 2012 saw a 50% decrease in the number of water-related fatalities (20) and a return to a more typical death rate of 1.6 per 100,000 population.
The significant long-term progress that has been made in reducing death by drowning in Canada is evident in the latest data. The water-related death rate has fallen steadily over the past 20 years, from an average of 2.1 per 100,000 population each year in the mid-1990s (1993–1997) to a yearly average of 1.4 per 100,000 population in the most recent data (2008–2012). Despite the encouraging decrease in the death rate, the number of drownings in Canada remains high. There were 495 water-related fatalities in Canada in 2012.
Between 2007 and 2011, 139 drownings occurred in Manitoba waters. In these most recent data collection years, the average drowning rate in Manitoba has increased by 35%. The average water-related fatality rate for 2007-2011 was 2.3 per 100,000 population, up from 1.7 in the previous five-year period. This increase can partially be accounted for by a spike in drownings in 2011. In 2011, there were 40 water-related fatalities in Manitoba, the greatest number to occur in any of the last 10 years.
The surge in drownings continues in the latest Coroners’ data. An uptick to 483 drownings in 2010 marks the 6th successive year of 470 or more drownings in Canada. Drownings are up 7% during the most recent 5 years (2006-2010) versus the previous 5-year average (2001-2005). This upswing may, at least in part, reflect Canadian weather trends, particularly in the summer when participation in recreation in, on or near water is at its highest. Summer 2010 was the 3rd warmest summer on record since Environment Canada began tracking temperatures in 1948.
The profile of drownings in Canada is shifting, contributing to an upswing in the past five years. Until 2004, there was a long-term decline in drownings. But after reaching an all-time low in 2004, there was a resurgence through 2009. Over the five years, this is an average increase of 8% versus the previous five-year average (2000 to 2004).
Drownings in Canada have shown resurgence in recent years. Until 2004, there was a long-term trend toward fewer drownings. After reaching an all-time low of 433 water-related deaths in 2004, there was an upswing to 492, 508 and 480 deaths in 2005, 2006 and 2007 respectively. On average, an increase of +10% versus the 2004-2006 previous-3-year average; and in each of 2005, 2006 and 2007, the number of water-related deaths is higher than during each of the previous 5 years.