59 people have drowned in Australia in less than eight weeks.

It has been a horror summer for drownings and lifesavers are urging people to keep an eye on their loved ones in the water over the coming weekend and next week’s Australia Day public holiday.

New figures from the Royal Life Saving Society of Australia show that 59 people have drowned since the start of December.

That’s a 16 per cent increase on the same period last year.

And 66 people have nearly drowned.

Fourteen were children under the age of 10, with children under five in home swimming pools making up 57 per cent of the reported non-fatal drownings in children.

“Children drown quickly and silently, it is important that children are actively supervised within arms’ reach at all times,” Royal Surf Lifesaving CEO Justin Scarr said.

“Ensure the home swimming pool is fenced with a correctly installed and regularly maintained pool fence with a self-closing and self-latching gate.”

Public holidays are particularly dangerous.

Of the 59 drowning deaths that have occurred since December, 10 have happened on a public holiday.

“We traditionally see a spike in drownings across the warmer months and the holiday period,” he said.

“We urge everyone celebrating this Australia Day to take care, avoid unnecessary risks and be safe around the water.”

Men are the group most likely to drown. Men make up 80 per cent of deaths so far this Summer.

“Men need to stop taking unnecessary risks when swimming, fishing or boating this Australia Day and for the rest of the Summer period,” Scarr said.

“Don’t go swimming if you’ve been drinking, wear lifejackets when boating or rock fishing and look after each other when you’re around the water.”

Inland waterways like creeks, rivers and dams are the most dangerous places according to the statistics.

Beaches came a close second.

If you are planning to head to an unfamiliar swimming spot on Australia Day, make sure you keep a close eye on children, and are across the risks, Scarr said.