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DLRG Statistics 2022: At least 355 people drowned in Germany

Bad Nenndorf/Hannover. In the past year at least 355 people drowned in Germany. That are 56 more deaths than during the year 2021, as the German Lifesaving Association (DLRG) announced in Hanover on February 23rd. “Thereby we registered the first increase of deadly accidents in waters for the first time in four years” says the President of the DLRG, Ute Vogt.

Therefore the number of deaths by drowning has risen by 19 percent compared to the previous year. Compared to the average of the past ten years it is 16 percent less victims though. “During the long and warm summer without any noteworthy Covid-related restrictions people went back to swimming more in mostly unguarded lakes and rivers. Therefore, the risk for accidents grew”, explains Vogt.

Most people drowned in lakes and rivers

In total, 308 of the registered deadly accidents – that equals about 87 percent – occurred in inland waters in the past year. 147 people alone (2021: 120) drowned in lakes, 105 (95) in rivers, 15 (eight) in streams, 22 (eleven) in ponds and 19 (16) in canals. The number of casualties also increased in public pools (from seven to 13). “With a view to the upcoming swimming season we appeal to avoid swimming in unguarded waters and not act thoughtlessly”, the DLRG chef urged the citizens.

Less people lost their lives in the sea (18 compared to 26 in the previous year). “Our lifesavers did a fantastic work last year. Thousands of volunteers ensure safety at 80 stations of the DLRG from the beginning of May to the end of September at the beaches of the North Sea and the Eastern Sea. In the process, they saved 65 lives at the beaches”, explains Ute Vogt. But there were probably more at the over 2.000 swimming spots in the inland, but the DLRG does not have those numbers yet.

The DLRG registered nearly two third of death cases in the waters (65 %) during the swimming season from May to the end of August. Compared to the previous year, significantly more people drowned in May (+19) and August (+33).

Risk group non-swimmers

Compared to 2021, the number of victims who were older than 50 years decreased from 57 to 46 percent. But the number of victims of people from 41 to 50 years old has more than doubled (from 18 to 40). 20 children aged from zero to ten years were under the victims (2021:17).

“Especially the children and teenagers worry us, when we think of the upcoming summer”, says Ute Vogt. A survey by forsa, that was commissioned by the DLRG, recently showed that the number of elementary school children who can’t swim has doubled from ten to 20 percent since 2017. Because of this, the DLRG president demands again: “Just like children learn to read, write and calculate they must also learn to swim. We must get to a point where every child can swim safely at the end of elementary school.”

The survey further showed that people over the age of 60 years as well as people with lower formal education and people with immigration background can swim less safely on average. “They are also more endangered during the summer at the waters”, says Vogt.

Significantly more drowning victims in Berlin, Lower-Saxony and North-Rhine-Westphalia

In absolute terms most people have drowned in Bavaria (69 opposite 60 in the previous year). The number of deaths in the water has more than doubled in North-Rhine-Westphalia (from 24 to 56). There was also a clear increase in Berlin from eight to 18. 42 cases happened in Lower Saxony; there were 26 in the year before. Whereas the DLRG counted less cases in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania (-12), Hesse (-5), Saxony (-5) and Baden-Wuerttemberg.

Furthermore, 80 percent of drowning victims are men. Expressed in absolute numbers, that means an increase of 43 to 284 cases in the year 2022.

Graphics on Drowning Statistics 2022

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