Rivers and lakes continue to be a leading location for drowning. Rapidly changing conditions and hidden dangers, such as strong currents, submerged objects, slippery or crumbling banks and cold water, can lead to people getting into difficulty. Unlike other aquatic locations, inland waterways are not regularly patrolled by a lifesaving or maritime service. In the case of an emergency, timely medical assistance may be impacted by geographic isolation and a lack of telecommunication facilities.
Preventing drowning in rivers and lakes is a priority as inland waterways account for more than a third of location-based drowning. A diverse range of activities and exposure to hazards, as well as drowning risk factors, such as alcohol, being male and residing in rural and remote communities, makes drowning prevention in rivers and lakes challenging.