We asked Royal Life Saving Society – Australia (RLSSA) to provide water safety tips in order to keep you and your family safe when in and around water.
Cooling off in the pool, beach and river is very much a part of the Australian culture, however we must always be vigilant. There has been an increase of drowning deaths this holiday season, with ten times the number of lives lost compared to last year. These are children, parents and grandparents who have tragically lost their lives. Each drowning death is a personal story, impacting on families, rescuers and communities.
1. Always wear a lifejacket. Research has shown that wearing a lifejacket doubles the chance of survival once immersed in water . Make sure you’re always wearing one when fishing, boating, or using a watercraft.
2. Supervise children. Drowning can happen quickly and silently. 21 children under the age of 5 drowned in Australian waterways between 1 July 2015 and 30 June 2016. Make sure you actively supervise children and stay within arm’s reach. Click here to read Royal Life Saving’s Keep Watch at Home Pool Safety tips.
3. Avoid alcohol around water. Last year 44 people who drowned recorded a positive reading for alcohol . Alcohol can delay your reaction time, inhibit your ability to assess risk, and effect your swimming ability. Alcohol and water don’t mix. Read how alcohol can increase your risk of drowning.
4. Be aware of medical conditions. 25% of people who lost their lives to drowning last year had a pre-existing medical condition.2 Adults over the age of 55 are at greater risk. Make sure you know your limits, have regular check-ups with your doctor, treat conditions, and don’t swim alone. Click here for more tips and resources
5. Learn CPR and first aid. Resuscitation can mean the difference between life and death. Learn lifesaving skills so you can provide vital treatment in the event of an emergency. Click here to sign up for a training course near you.
6. Always swim between the flags when at the beach. If you get into trouble, stay calm and attract attention by raising your arm above your head. Visit Surf Life Saving Australia for more information.
Visit the Royal Life Saving Society – Australia website for more tips and resources.
 O’Connor P. National Assessment of Boating Fatalities in Australia 1999 – 2004: The findings of phase 3 of the assessment of fatal and non-fatal injury due to boating in Australia. Australia: National Marine Safety Committee Inc., 2008.
 Royal Life Saving Society – Australia (2016) Royal Life Saving National Drowning Report 2016, Sydney Australia