57 drown in Canarian waters in 2019, 15 in Tenerife

Figures for drownings in the Canaries in 2019 continued the lower trend started in 2018 but there were still 57 people who drowned in the sea around these islands last year, 15 of them in Tenerife. In 2018 there were 56 deaths, 18 in Tenerife. This was heralded as good news compared with the figures for 2017 when 93 drowned, but clearly these figures are still far too high. 

As usual, the vast majority, around three quarters, are foreigners, mostly male, and the authorities and organizations that work to reduce drownings here say that prevention is key to reducing these fatalities further. Let’s hope the push is working and that the message really is finally getting across.  

I am oten asked why I focus on drowning rather than road safety, and sometimes criticized for doing so on the grounds that I put people off going swimming which is a “fun and healthy thing to do”. So it is, but only if it is done in full knowledge of how to do so safely. It’s sobering to realise, in my opinion, that statistics show far more drowning in Canarian waters as dying on the islands’ roads in road traffic accidents.

In 2019, the fifth consecutive year in which drowning fatalities exceeded RTA deaths, 57 died in the sea compared with 39 on the roads; in 2018, the figures are 56/43; 2017 – 93/44; 2016 – 72/38; and 2015 – 62/39. It is not too far out to say that drownings are around double the numbers of deaths in traffic accidents.

The Canary Islands have the dubious honour of topping the leader board for drownings in Spanish regions, and in the Canaries, Tenerife has the highest numbers. Be aware of safety issues, and see HERE for official and practical advice on staying alive while enjoying the sea around Tenerife.

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