Stay water smart these holidays

When the weather gets hot, many people flock to the water.

No matter what form of water you seek out – beach, dam, pool or river – it is important to stay aware so everyone can have a safe Christmas and summer.

Remember to always look out for one another when swimming, and never enter the water under the influence of alcohol or other substances.

Explain swimming and safety rules to any children who wish to enter the water, and make sure everyone knows how to swim.

Here are some safety tips for various places where Australians like to take a dip:

Beach – 

  • Swim at a patrolled beach between the red and yellow flags
  • Read the warning flags
  • Don’t go in the water if the waves look too big or you’re not confident with your swimming ability
  • Watch for rip currents; if you see a current of off-colour, choppy water, it may be a rip
  • If you get pulled out in a rip, swim parallel to the beach to free yourself, then swim to shore. If you cannot swim out of the rip, let it take you out and conserve your energy. It will eventually stop pulling, and then you can swim back in
  • If you’re in trouble, lay on your back and put your hand straight up in the air
  • Be aware of the waves and the weather
  • Wear sunscreen, and watch out for heat stroke or heat sickness
  • Be aware of ocean life, such as bluebottles and sea lice

River/dam/lake – 

  • Check the current before entering the water
  • Do not dive straight in; there may be submerged hazards such as rocks and tree branches
  • Watch out for animals, such as snakes or farm animals
  • Watch out for boats, and do not swim near a dock or boat ramp
  • Be aware of the mud, which you can sink into unexpectedly
  • Be careful of slippery or steep banks
  • Wear a lifejacket if in a boat
  • Take note of the water temperature, which can be very cold, to avoid hyperthermia

Pool – 

  • Ensure the pool is securely enclosed with a working gate and safe fence
  • Make sure nothing is near the pool fence that could allow someone to climb over it and into the pool area
  • Keep pool toys and aids securely stored until needed
  • Ensure no pump, grate or suction fittings are broken or missing
  • Keep pool chemicals stored out of reach
  • Be aware of other people in the water
  • Know the depth of the pool to avoid diving injuries
  • Do not jump on top of another person when entering the water

Swim safe and have a great summer.


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