Summer calls for spending time at pools, lakes, rivers, and beaches – where it’s always vital to be water-wise. Use these five water safety tips to stay safe this season.

As a country that loves spending time in the water, we owe it to ourselves to do everything we can to be water-wise and stay safe.

Keep yourself and loved ones safe this summer with these tips.

1. Stick to patrolled beaches

In Australia, we are lucky to have countless options for patrolled beaches, where skilled surf lifesavers are on constant watch for incidents in the water.

While their keen eyes and skills should be a last resort, you should always swim between the flags at patrolled beaches for that added level of safety.

Use Beachsafe to locate patrolled areas near you. Beachsafe also provides information about local conditions.

2. Don’t let the kids out of sight

Most drownings for kids of pre-school age happen in pools at home, or at unfenced pools nearby.

They might be faster than a speeding cheetah once they get up and running, but make sure they are in view whenever they’re around water. Remember that older siblings can be quite responsible, but it’s not the same as having adult supervision.

When it comes to kids and water, treat them like kids and fire – keep an eye on them at all times. Remember, children can drown in just four centimetres of water and in less than two minutes.

3. Never dive or jump into water you can’t see through

Rivers make for great swimming holes, but only when you can be sure they are free of debris that could injure or catch on clothing.

Therefore, only ever dive or jump into water that you can visually verify is free of any rocks, branches, or other obstructions and obstacles that could be lurking below the surface.

Similarly, the bottom of waterfalls can have hidden obstructions.

4. Double-check pool and spa fences and gates

Fences and gates around bodies of water at home are a fantastic safety feature.

Be sure they are in good condition by double-checking that the gates swing closed automatically (so they can’t be left open), and that there are no areas where kids could climb over or under the fence.

Also, make sure no one props the gate open. What’s a quick convenience for adults can be a hazard for kids.

5. Learn how to recognise a rip

Rip currents are not uncommon at Australian beaches, and can quickly whisk you far away from the shore if you get stuck in one.

You can spot them and avoid them, however. They look like calm patches of water with waves breaking on either side. They can also look foamy or discoloured compared with the water around it. Basically, if a stretch of water looks odd to you – be safe and stay well away from it.

If you do find yourself stuck in a rip, stay calm, and float on your back as you let it pull you away until it weakens. Then you can swim sideways (parallel to the shore) to get out of the current (it usually only takes 30-40 metres or so) then swim back to shore.

Refer to Beachsafe’s guide to rip currents for more information.

Getting out into the water (with plenty of sunscreen on) is a fantastic way to spend the summer, and it is generally a very safe experience. However, it is absolutely vital to always respect the water and look out for one another every time you dive in.

Disclamer: This content is for informational purposes only and should not substitute advice from your healthcare professional. If symptoms persist or you require specialist advice, please consult your healthcare professional.

You may also like.