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Abstract

Beach drowning in low- and middle-income countries (LMIC’S) like the west African nation of Ghana, is a poorly understood problem. A physical site assessment of the Ghana coast was undertaken to determine beach types, hazards, and the potential for implementing community surf education and lifeguarding services. A questionnaire survey was administered to 346 participants in coastal regions providing information related to beach drowning. Results demonstrated that a significant number of drownings occur on this wave-dominated coastline, particularly on public holidays, with 82% of participants knowing someone who had drowned. Ignorance of the rip current hazard was evident with 37% of participants, particularly students, indicating they would swim in a hazardous rip current location. The majority of participants (57%) indicated they would seek help when they saw someone in a dangerous situation. These results indicate a strong need for community beach safety education and lifeguard services in Ghana.

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