Drowning is an important, multisectoral, preventable and public health issue. This study aims to examine the burden and risk factors for drowning in Portugal from 2008 to 2015.
The information was collected based on two databases from the Directorate-General of Health, Public Health (ICD codes Accidental non-transport drowning and submersion W65-W74) and from the National Maritime Authority. The Public Health database allowed a national overview on drowning for accidental non-transport drowning and submersion, being the National Maritime Authority (ISN) data used for drowning on the beach.
There was an average of 69 deaths/year in the period between 2008 and 2015 (ICD W65-W74). The number of deaths in unguarded beaches corresponds to 74% (n=73), with an average of 9.1 deaths per year. In guarded beaches, the average was 3.3 (data ISN). In the same time period, there was a 5% increase in the number of licensed lifeguards, with an average of 698 rescues per year. Concomitantly, a total of 697 communication actions were developed with the aim of preventing drownings.