Most Drownings Occur at Unauthorized Beaches, Officials Say

YERUSHALAYIM -
A paraglider flies through the sky over the sea at the beach in Ashkelon. Photo by Corinna Kern/Flash90
A paraglider flies through the sky over the sea at the beach in Ashkelon. (Corinna Kern/Flash90)

“Swimming season” – the months between April and October, when lifeguards are on duty at official beaches – came to an end Monday, and in a wrap-up of the season, officials said that 42 people had drowned this year. That was a sharp increase over the 33 who drowned in 2015 – but this year, as last, the vast majority of drownings took place at beaches where no lifeguard was present.

Two thirds of the instances, in fact, took place at beaches where swimming is not permitted, or at beaches where swimming is allowed, but not during the evening hours when lifeguards are not present. Ninety-six percent of drownings were in the Mediterranean, and 86 percent of victims were males.

There are 143 official beaches in Israel, 96 of them on the Mediterranean, 27 surrounding the Kinneret, 16 along the Dead Sea, and the rest along the Red Sea. Out of those, 32 will remain open during the winter, most of which are at the Dead Sea and in Eilat.