Close is not Close Enough: Drowning and Rescues Outside Flagged Beach Patrol Areas in Australia

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The international lifesaving practice of placing flags on patrolled beaches to mark the safest place to swim under direct supervision is well established. This article confirms the fact that swimmers staying between the patrol flags who find themselves in need of assistance are most likely to be successfully rescued. However, the common belief that swimming in some close proximity to the flags will provide the same benefits if assistance is required is shown by Australian rescue and drowning data to be erroneous. Recognizing that a large proportion of beach users will disregard safety information about swimming between the flags, this article also reports on Surf Life Saving Australia initiatives to provide broad patrol coverage beyond the flags. Tourists are identified as a key "at risk" group for water safety information and for practical assistance on the beach.


Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: June 1, 2007

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  • Tourism in Marine Environments is an interdisciplinary journal dealing with a variety of management issues in marine settings. It is a scientific journal that draws upon the expertise of academics and practitioners from various disciplines related to the marine environment, including tourism, marine science, geography, social sciences, psychology, environmental studies, economics, marketing, and many more.
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