California hospital discharge data for 1991 were examined to describe persons hospitalized for near drownings (i.e., a submersion incident for which the victim was admitted to a hospital). Among residents with near-drowning injuries, there were 865 discharges, regardless of outcome (rate = 2.8/100,000); 785 persons survived the hospitalization, and 80 (9%) did not. Swimming pools were the most common submersion site (62%). Highest rates per 100,000 were found among males (3.6), Blacks (3.6), and children 1 through 5 years old (18.4). Charges for the initial hospitalization (excluding physicians' fees) amounted to $11.4 million. The state government's share of these charges was $5.4 million, with Medi-Cal expected to pay $4.1 million. Blacks, males, Medi-Cal recipients, and young children are most at risk and should be targeted for prevention programs.