Australia’s population is diverse, with Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) data showing that 49% of the population were either born overseas or had at least one parent who was born overseas, and 21% speak a language other than English at home. This diversity is reflected in drowning statistics, with differences in cultural associations and lower participation in learn to swim and other water safety activities thought to be a factor.
Three main groups are identified in this area: migrants, international students and overseas visitors. Risk factors differ slightly across each group. Adult migrants often have limited experience and understanding of water and water safety in the Australian context. International students are often attracted by Australia’s aquatic lifestyle, although many come with limited exposure to water in a recreational context. Overseas visitors can be complacent when holidaying and may increase risk-taking behaviour, including consumption of alcohol and trying unfamiliar activities in unfamiliar environments.