Visitors to Australia can take advantage of our many beaches and waterways but should remember to follow basic water safety at all times.
As the world’s largest island, Australia is fringed with almost 10,700 superb beaches just waiting to be enjoyed. Along with magnificent lakes and river systems and a warm climate, this makes water-based activities extremely popular right around the country. Below are some handy guidelines and tips on water safety both at the beach and when swimming in our inland waters.
Stretched out or tucked into bays along almost 50,000 kms of the most diverse, least crowded and unspoilt coastline in the world are more beaches than you’ll find in any other nation. To stay safe at the beach:
Many surf beaches in Australia have rips – powerful currents of water that can be dangerous, sometimes dragging swimmers out into deep water very quickly. Identifying rips can be difficult but in general, look for signs of a narrow channel of water moving out to sea more quickly than the water on either side of that channel. If you find yourself caught in a rip:
Large surf conditions can be extremely dangerous. When there is very large surf it is vital that anyone heading to the coast remembers to swim only in patrolled areas. If conditions are dangerous enough, beaches will be closed, and swimmers and board riders will be advised to stay out of the water and listen to the advice of the surf lifesavers and lifeguards. If the beaches are closed, a red flag will fly and lifesavers will remain on the beach to encourage people to stay out of the water.
Australia’s waterways are a paradise of rivers, inlets, estuaries, fresh and saltwater lakes containing abundant fish and wildlife. They can all be great for swimming, but swimmers need to exercise caution at all times. Read and obey warning signs at waterways and never swim alone, under the influence of alcohol or drugs, in darkness or when the water is unknown, nor run, jump or dive into shallow water.
Every effort has been made to verify the accuracy of items in this fact sheet. Tourism Australia does not accept liability for injury, loss or damage incurred by use of or reliance on the information provided in this Fact Sheet.