Drowning Research

The Lifesaving Society has been researching and reporting on drowning and preventable water-related deaths in Canada since 1990. This research provides a comprehensive fact base on the drowning problem to guide the Society and others in developing drowning prevention solutions.

The drowning research process involves data collection, research tabulation and analysis, and development of reports. A data collection form and process is used to extract the water-related deaths data from the offices of the Chief Coroners and Medical Examiners in each province. The scope of this research:

  • Collects the data needed to profile victims of aquatic incidents, including the circumstances and contributing factors under which these incidents occurred.
  • Includes all deaths in each province and Canada overall resulting from incidents "in, on or near water"; "near-water" incidents were included if the incident was closely related to water-based recreational, vocational or daily living activity, or if the presence of water appeared to be an attraction contributing to the incident.
  • Includes only preventable (unintentional) deaths. It does not include deaths due to natural causes, suicide, or homicide.


Drowning Prevention Plan 8 EN 291

Drowning: A Top Cause of Death

The World Health Organization (WHO) Global Report on Drowning: preventing a leading killer shows  drowning is among the top causes of death for children worldwide, and programs like the Society's Swim to Survive could have immunization-like benefits. The WHO report identifies drowning as a major public health issue and calls on the world's nations to ramp up drowning prevention efforts.

Read or download the Global Report on Drowning: Preventing a Leading Killer

Read or download Preventing Drowning: An Implementation Guide

Read or download the UN's resolution on global drowning prevention


Global Report EN 291