STATISTICS show there were 270 drowning deaths in Fiji between 2008 and 2012, and that last year's figure was the highest at 75 cases.
Speaking at the International World Water Safety Day celebrations in Suva yesterday, Minister for Youth and Sport Commander Viliame Naupoto said the drowning toll recorded so far for this year was 11.
He said seven drowning-related deaths were recorded during the first 22 days of this year alone.
"The harsh reality of these drowning fatalities is that 25 children under the age of 10 were left unsupervised in or around water," Cdr Naupoto said.
"I would like to reverse this trend with a different twist and create a different set of statistics that read three lives saved every day through successfully learning how to swim.
"That would mean that we will have a target of 1095 able swimmers for this year."
He said drowning was preventable and those dedicated to water safety knew there was no magic bullet to prevent drowning and that people needed to follow water safety steps.
"A lack of awareness of water safety, particularly in relation to our children, is an issue that can bring tragedy to anyone, anywhere and at any time.
"Keeping watch and being vigilant is the key to eliminating child drowning and preventing new drowning." The WHO estimates that 388,000 people die through worldwide every year.