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Who Is Most Likely to Drown

Written by Ankin Law Office

Male adults, children and teens, and people with water-related jobs have the highest risk of drowning.

The Risks of Drowning

Drowning injuries accounted for more than nine percent of global fatalities in 2015 with an estimated total of 360,000 deaths. Drowning is the 3rd leading cause of unintentional injury death around the world. More than 50 percent of the world’s drowning deaths occur in Southeast Asia and the Western Pacific Region. In the United States, 45 percent of drowning deaths occur in natural water sources and community or residential swimming pools.

Studies by the World Health Organization show that age, gender, access to water, and recreational behaviors increase a person’s risk for water-related injuries and death.


Young children and teenagers have a high risk of water-related injuries and deaths. In the Western Pacific Region, children between ages 5 to 14 die more frequently from drowning than any other cause. In the U.S., drowning is the leading cause of death among children between ages 1 to 4, mainly due to lack of proper adult supervision. Young people between the ages of 15 and 24 also have a high risk of serious drowning accidents and injuries.


Male teens and young adults account for 80 percent of drowning deaths in the United States each year. Water-related accidents and drowning deaths seen by injury lawyers in Chicago are commonly related to water sports that require powerboats and jet skis, as well as recreational activities such as swimming, surfing, para-sailing, paddle boarding, diving, and snorkeling. Death rates are higher among males because they tend to take more risks than females.

Access to Water

Increased access to water is another risk factor for non-fatal and fatal drowning accidents. Individuals with water-related occupations like shipping, boating, and commercial fishing face higher risks for drowning due to hazardous weather conditions. Children and young people who have easy access to oceans, rivers, lakes, and local or household swimming pools and spas also face greater risks for drowning deaths.

Reckless Behaviors

Alcohol and/or drugs are involved in at least 70 percent of water-related injuries and fatalities. Because alcohol, illegal drugs, and even prescription drugs can significantly impair a person’s physical and mental abilities, mixing them with water-related activities that require diligent attention to safety is a recipe for potential disaster.

Categories: Personal Injury