Retrospective data extraction from two complementary mortality datasets determined the descriptive epidemiology and population rates in unintentional drowning deaths at surf beaches (n = 129). The annual average crude surf beach drowning rate was 0.28 per 100 000 population for males and 2.36 per 100 000 population for international tourists. The study generated hypotheses for risk assessment to assist intervention: adult males, international tourists, people with cardiovascular conditions, and exposure to rip currents.
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Competing interests: None.
Ethics approval: Ethical approval was granted by Monash University Standing Committee on Ethics in Research Involving Humans, project Nos 2004/572EA, 2005/760EA, and M0004-2.