A new report shows that most drownings in Australia happen in rural and regional rivers, often involving men and alcohol.

It’s not sharks, rocks or rips at our beaches but calm rural rivers that claim the most lives at Australia’s “aquatic locations”, a new report has found.

During the past decade 735 people have drowned in rivers, creeks and streams. Of those, 306 people, or 46 per cent, have lost their lives in regional and remote waterways.

The statistics, released in the Royal Lifesaving Society’s Drowning Death in Australian Rivers: A 10 Year Analysis on Wednesday, also revealed men accounted for more than 80 per cent of rural and regional river drowning deaths, with 25 per cent aged between 25 and 44.

“The flat, still appearance of rivers often lull people into a false sense of safety,” Royal Life Saving chief Justin Scarr said.

“Time and again we see people taking unnecessary risks that often have tragic outcomes, especially where alcohol is involved.”

Almost 40 per cent of rural river drownings involved booze, and in 67 per cent of those cases a blood alcohol concentration of higher than 0.05 was recorded.

“Rivers account for more drownings than beaches or swimming pools,” Mr Scarr said.

“It’s high time that people treated rivers with the same respect they have learned to show when recreating at the beach.”

The report said the Murray River had claimed 43 lives, the highest in the country.

The Brisbane River in Queensland and the Yarra River in Victoria ranked second and third, followed by the Swan River (WA), Hawkesbury River (NSW), Murrumbidgee River (NSW), Sandy Creek (QLD), Derwent River (TAS), Katherine River (NT) and the Macquarie River (NSW).