The results of a 4-year retrospective study on the epidemiology of drowning in greater Cape Town are presented. With rates corrected to per 100 000 population, the highest incidences of drowning were found to be in white children and adult black males. The commonest sites of drowning were the coastline and harbours of greater Cape Town. The majority of adult drownings were associated with positive blood alcohol tests (64,6%) and in the case of black men occurred while at work. The majority of drownings in children occurred in home swimming pools.