An analytical study of the distribution of fatal ocean drowning by tidal phase and state in the Western Cape
Thesis (MMed)--Stellenbosch University, 2019.
ENGLISH SUMMARY : Drowning is a serious public health concern that is often overlooked. Understanding risk factors is key to the development of preventative strategies. The aim of this study was therefore to describe the frequency of fatal drowning in the Western Cape during different tidal phases and states. This was a retrospective, analytical study describing all fatal drowning incidents in the ocean, tidal pools and harbours in the Western Cape province of South Africa between 2010 and mid-2017. The most important finding of this study is a 2.4-fold increased incident rate of fatal drownings during spring (29.8 per 100 days) and neap (29.1 per 100 days) tides when compared to Normal tide (12.2 per 100 days). In addition, the odds of drowning during the flooding tide were 2.2-fold higher in spring tides when compared to neap tides. The factors contributing to drowning in the ocean are multifactorial and complex, and these initial findings suggest that future research on the influence of in-shore bathometry and wave character on environmental factors such as current velocity and force would aid understanding our site-specific drowning risk.
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