A total of 149 people drowned in Greece between January 1 and July 24, according to figures from the country’s coast guard.
The new data emerged on Saturday in the wake of warnings by health experts for people to show greater caution when swimming amid reports of 413 deaths from drowning last year, more than nearby Italy – with a population six times the size of Greece.
The number of confirmed deaths from drowning last year is actually 294, official figures indicated on Saturday.
Hellenic Coast Guard spokesman Nikos Lagadianos told the Athens-Macedonian News Agency that swimmers should not be scared, but cautious.
“We shouldn’t fear the sea but we should respect its rules,” he said.
According to the Hellenic Institute for Occupational Health and Safety, a big problem is swimmers overestimating their abilities.
It advises people never to swim alone, not to swim if they are in a bad physical or mental state, to wait three hours after a heavy meal, and never to swim under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Most drownings occur at a distance of up to 10 meters from the shore, with relatively few recorded beyond 50 meters from land, it said.