PDPC Tourist Drowning Report 2012

Objective: To determine the state of tourists drowning in order to propose interventions for the Department of Tourism, Local Government Units and Tourism Operators in the Philippines.
Subject: A drowning surveillance based on 2012 Media Releases was conducted. Initially tracked down were 265 Fatal Drowning incidents affecting both foreign and domestic tourists.
Results: On circumstance of having recreational aquatic activities, 34 foreign nationals drowned at major tourist destinations with Boracay as highest, then Cebu, Bataan, Batangas, Bohol, Tarlac, Subic and Zambales. Greater number had confined to Koreans (16 at 47.07%), Chinese (9 at 26.47%), Japanese (3 at 8.82%) and collectively – the 2 Americans, a British, Indian, Polish and a Romanian. Reported drowning deaths were due to beach swimming at 32.35%, boating at 20.59%, scuba diving at 17.65%, snorkeling at 14.71%, waterfall swimming at 11.76% and swimming pool deaths remained at 2.94%. Additionally, 18-40 age group is highest at 44.12%, followed by 41-60 age group (29.41%) and under 17 year old children age group (20.58%) with 61 above age group at only 5.88%.
For domestic tourist drowning, mortality is highest among children ages 17 under at a total 67.01%, categorically with fatalities for 0-4 toddlers at 5.78% , 5-14 Age Group (41.50%), 15-17 Age Group (19.73%), 18-40 Age Group (18.71%), 41-60 Age Group (12.58%) and for Age Group 61 above (1.70%). Male to Female Ratio is at 64.72% to 33.44% respectively.
Venues of Drowning from the highest order – River (134 at 40.85%), Beach (107 at 32.62%), Lakes / Water Falls (16 at 4.88%) and Swimming Pools (8 at 2.44%). All happened at daylight.
Drowning Incidence at long holidays / holydays celebration was very evident. Multiple Drowning could not be ruled out. Accidental Falling into waterfalls had also caused drowning.
Recommendations: Drowning remained to be a deathtrap to both foreign and local tourists with high exposure to water activities. Creating drowning-safe tourist destinations by improving water safety supervision to tourists and visitors, adopting International Life Saving standards for lifeguarding and water activities such as recreational boating, snorkeling, scuba diving and swimming, launching of national language-based Drowning Prevention Awareness Program to specific tourists, developing risk reduction leadership within tourist communities and fostering tripartite collaborations among resort owners, lifesaving societies and local communities maybe effective interventions to prevent tourists from drowning.
Putting in place a 3-year Drowning Prevention Plan aligned with the recommendations of Philippine Drowning Prevention Plan 2010-15 addressing key issues particularly to zero-out Tourist Drowning on the context of action collaboration among drowning prevention stakeholders to include the participation of foreign embassy officials could be best practice towards a drown-free tourism industry operation. (Report by Arne NAVARRA, PLS President)

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