As the official summer season is set to come to a close next week, it ends as one of the bleakest for some years, with twice as many drownings in the region compared to last year.
Up until the end of August, the official figure stood at 46 people losing their lives as a result of drowning at either the beaches or swimming pools in the area.
Moreover, there is now concern amongst professionals that the situation will worsen as lifeguards are systematically withdrawn at the end of the season.
The figures, and the warning, have been issued by the Real Federación de Salvamento y Socorrismo group.
By the middle of August, the fatality rate already stood at 37 since the start of the season in June, an alarmingly high number, according to the federation´s statistics, but during the latter half of the month the situation escalated with a further 9 people losing their lives. In 2018, the total figure for the region stood at 26 deaths.
Moreover, it is the beaches of the Valencia region which have seen the most dramatic increase in the whole of the country, surpassing those that occurred on the Andalucía and Catalan coasts. Most of the drownings in Valencia occurred in this, the Alicante area, specifically on the Costa Blanca, where 20 of the drowning occurred.
According to the federation, 73% of cases of drowning occur when there is no surveillance. The most dangerous time slots are those in which the service is not active and there are no lifeguards. This is therefore more worrying when the season closes and the lifeguards are withdrawn, which has prompted the association to urge an extension on the service until mid-October.
The federation would like each municipality to look at the services they provide on an individual basis, and focus on the needs of the area, rather than simply contracted supply based on the paper exercise of when the official season starts and ends. “In certain areas, if the season is extended, life-threatening risks could be avoided,” they say.