Lifesaving devices not mandatory in Queensland hotel pools despite state’s record drowning rate

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Lifesaving devices are not mandatory in the pools of Queensland’s hotels despite more drownings in them than in any other Australian state or territory.

Three people have drowned in hotel pools on the Gold Coast this year, including a father and son who died in the same pool in an Easter Sunday tragedy.

The Sunshine State, marketed as a water-loving, fun-in-the-sun destination, recorded 22 of Australia’s 36 drownings in hotel, motel, resort and caravan park pools between July 1, 2013 and June 30, 2023, according to figures from Royal Life Saving Australia (RLSA).

Fewer people died from shark attacks, which accounted for 20 deaths, across all of Australia during the same period.

And while millions of dollars are spent keeping beaches safe each year, RLSA says hotel pool safety often flies under the radar.

What do the rules say?

Regulations differ across Australian states and territories, but in Queensland, there is no difference in pool safety requirements between one in a backyard or a hotel — both must have a compliant pool fence and display a cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) sign in the pool area.

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