Objective: To examine whether differences in water safety–related cue utilization might be associated with differences in exposure to water-related recreational contexts. Background: A disproportionate number of incidents of drowning were attributable to recent visitors to New South Wales in the 2016–2017 summer swimming season. This was due to their assumed lack of exposure to the water-related recreational settings in which Australians engage and therefore, the absence of cues that are associated with danger. Method: In Study 1, the water safety cue utilization of 101 Australian residents and 328 recent visitors to the country was compared using the Expert Intensive Skills Evaluation (EXPERTise 2.0) program. Accounting for differences between the samples, Australian residents demonstrated significantly superior water safety cue utilization. In Study 2, the water safety cue utilization of a sample of 219 Australian residents was examined, the outcomes of which indicated that those participants who learned to swim before the age of 11 years demonstrated superior water safety cue utilization to participants who learned to swim at a later age. Results: Overall, the results suggest that there are individual differences in water safety cue utilization that are explained, in part, by differences in country of residence and the age at which participants first learned to swim. Conclusion: Water safety cue utilization is likely to be dependent upon exposure to water-related activities. Identifying individual differences enables the development of more targeted, drowning-prevention strategies.
- water safety
- cue utilization