New data has revealed that a total of 481 people drowned at Spanish swimming spots during the whole of 2017, a rise of ten percent on the year before.
Spain’s national lifeguard federation published the figure as 2017 came to a close reporting that during the course of the year 2,487 people were saved after getting difficulty in the water.
— Federación SOS (@FederacionMSS) 2 de enero de 2018
The report does not include data for those migrants who drowned or were rescued while trying to reach Spain from the coast of north Africa but centres on incidents that took place on beaches, lakes and at swimming pools across mainland Spain and the Canary and Balearic Islands.
Not surprisingly the data reveals that the most drownings occurred during the height of the summer holiday season, with 95 deaths in July, 71 in August and 70 in June.
The biggest number of deaths occurred in the Canary Islands where 93 people drowned in 2017, followed by Andalusia (74 deaths), Valencia region (67 deaths), Galicia (58 deaths) and then Catalonia ( 44 deaths).
The Balearic Islands recorded 28 drownings.
The report revealed that the typical profile of a drowning victim was not in fact a child, weak swimmer or drunk young tourist but a Spanish man over the age of 35 who swam off a beach where there was no lifeguard in attendance.
It showed that 80 percent of those that died were male, 73 percent were Spanish, 71.9 percent were over 35 years-old and that more than half of drownings occurred at a beach (52 percent) and 90percent of them when there was no lifeguard service present.
The data does not include migrants who drowned or were rescued by lifeboats as they attempted to cross the Mediterranean into Spain.
The latest figures suggest that at least 223 people have died or disappeared while trying to reach Spain by boat, 95 more than in 2016.
By year end it is thought that 3,116 migrants have died or disappeared while trying to cross the Mediterranean into Europe, down from 4,967 last year, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM).