The aim of the current study was to identify under what circumstances people drown using the 4W model (Avramidis, Butterly, Llewellyn, 2007). We used qualitative content analysis to analyze drowning incident videos (n = 41), and semi-structured interviews of those involved in drowning incidents (n = 34). Results confirmed that drowning incidents can occur at any time, although most likely during daylight, and during any season of the year, with summer most common. We observed that drowning can occur after engaging in just about any form of human activity, on, near, above or under the surface of a liquid (mainly water). Drownings with serious consequences often result when rescue and personal protective equipment is either absent or has insufficient quality. Almost any risky aquatic-related activity that doesn’t comply with appropriate safety procedures might lead to drowning. In response to drowning, we noted that a wide variety of rescue techniques might be used.