Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull starts the Bondi to Bronte Ocean Swim at North Bondi Surf Life Saving Club in Sydney. (AAP Image/Angelo Risso)

Turnbull calls for water safety

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has implored Australians to swim between the flags after a dramatic increase in drownings at the beach.

There were 102 drownings on the Australian coast in the 2014/15 financial year, up from 83 the previous year.

All 34 swimmers and waders who drowned at the beach were outside the flags and the remaining 68 victims were rock fishermen or people who fell off boats or other watercraft.

“Australian beaches are beguiling, they are enchanting, but they can be very dangerous,” Mr Turnbull told reporters at North Bondi Surf Lifesaving Club.

“The water is a part of Australian life, but we have to be water safe,” he said on Sunday.

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