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Men make up vast majority of drowning deaths in 2019

Men accounted for 70 of the 90 drowning deaths in Finland last year.

Pelastusrengas joen rannalla.
More than 50 people drowned in Finland during the summer months last year. Image: Linus Hoffman / Yle

Deaths by drowning fell slightly in 2019 compared to the previous year, but men continued to account for the bulk of water-related fatalities last year, according to advance data from Finland's association of swimming teachers and lifesavers.

Preliminary statistics (in Finnish) from the Finnish Swimming Teaching and Lifesaving Association, FSL, indicated that 90 people drowned in Finland last year.

The overall number of drownings was slightly lower than the 94 deaths recorded in 2018, but male fatalities still outstripped others, with 70 men dying in the water last year compared to 79 in 2018. The figures showed that 14 women drowned last year, while the victim's gender was not determined in six cases.

As in previous years, the majority of drowning deaths occurred during the summer months. Between May and August last year, 57 people lost their lives; the corresponding figure for the same period in 2018 was 63.

Last year boating and swimming accidents claimed 48 lives, compared to 53 in 2018. The highest number of swimming deaths last year took place in June and July.

However there were fewer ice-related deaths last year than in the previous year: six in 2019 compared to 16 in 2018.

FSL's "Safety in Water" campaign aims to ensure that people in Finland practice water safety. One of the project's main objectives is to inspire a cultural change regarding the use of drugs and alcohol on the water.

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