A South African Epidemiological Study of Fatal Drownings: 2016-2021

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2022 Nov 16;19(22):15121. doi: 10.3390/ijerph192215121.


Drowning is a serious public health concern. Low-and-middle-income countries are the most affected by drowning, as they carry 90% of the global drowning burden. The purpose of this retrospective epidemiological study is to provide an overview of fatal drownings in South Africa between 2016 and 2021. The data used for the study were obtained from the South African Police Service. Descriptive statistics were used to summarize the data. Statistical analyses included a t-test and chi-square test. The results indicate that the average number of fatal drownings per annum is 1477 in South Africa, with an average drowning rate of 2.54 per 100,000 population for the period 2016 to 2021. The KwaZulu-Natal province had the highest incidence of drowning. The 0-4-year-age group has the highest prevalence of drowning among all the age categories. More males drowned in South Africa compared to females.

Keywords: South Africa; drowning; epidemiology; low and middle income.

MeSH terms

  • Drowning* / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Police
  • Retrospective Studies
  • South Africa / epidemiology

Grants and funding

This research received no external funding.