Be Water Safe, Not Sorry

The NSW Government, in partnership with Surf Life Saving NSW, Royal Life Saving Society Australia and Marine Rescue NSW has launched the Be Water Safe, Not Sorry water safety campaign in response to the number of drownings that occur in NSW throughout summer.

Tragically too many people lose their life each year at the beach, on rock platforms, in backyard swimming pools, and in rivers, lakes and streams. On average, over the last ten years, 35 people have drowned in NSW every summer, and others have suffered non-fatal drowning incidents often leading to catastrophic injuries. Each drowning incident shatters communities and families, and deeply affects our emergency services personnel and professional and volunteer life savers who respond to these tragedies. 

Last year (2017/18) almost half of all drowning deaths in NSW occurred in the summer months. The Be Water Safe, Not Sorry campaign, delivered in partnership with Surf Life Saving NSW, Royal Life Saving Society Australia and Marine Rescue NSW aims to educate people of the very real risks associated with water, and what they can do to ensure they stay water safe this summer.

Key water safety tips

Always supervise children in or near water

This is a pcture of a cross marking a grave at the bottom of a swimming pool

Most child drownings occur at home, most commonly in the backyard swimming pool. A lack of adult supervision is the most common factor leading to these deaths. Key points to remember are:

  • Don't get distracted by phone calls, a visitor at the door, or attending to other children
  • If you have friends over, designate a supervisor so that an adult is always watching
  • Ensure your pool fence meets safety standards and the pool gate is securely closed, not propped open.
Find more information on how to Keep Watch of children in and around water.

Don't drink or take drugs and swim

This is a picture of a cross marking a grave at the bottom of a river

If you drink or take drugs and swim you are putting yourself at risk of drowning. Last summer, 11 per cent of fatal drownings involved drugs or alcohol. This summer:

  • Don't drink or take drugs and go swimming or participate in water-based activities
  • Be aware that rivers, lakes, streams and dams can be isolated and are not manned by lifesavers
  • Keep an eye out for your mates.

No flags means no lifesavers

This is a picture of a cross marking a grave at the bottom of the ocean
Nearly 36 per cent of people who drowned last summer did so at the beach, frequently at unpatrolled locations or outside of patrol hours. Be smart and:

  • Swim at patrolled beaches, where possible
  • Don't swim outside of lifesaver hours at patrolled beaches
  • Don't swim beyond your abilities, particularly in unfamiliar waters.
Find out how to be beach safe this summer. 



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