Be Water Safe. Not Sorry

The NSW Government has launched a new water safety campaign in response to the increased number of drownings during the 2016-17 summer.

Between 1 Dec 2016 and 28 February 2017, 41 people tragically lost their life at the beach, in backyard swimming pools, and in rivers, lakes and streams.

Seventeen of those deaths happened over the nine days between Christmas and 2 January 2017 – 15 more than for the same period the previous year.

The Be Water Safe, Not Sorry campaign is based on the findings of The Royal Life Saving Summer Drowning Report 2016-17 (pdf) and aims to educate people of the very real risks associated with water, and what they can do to ensure they stay safe.

Key water safety tips

Always supervise children in or near water

15 per cent of all drowning deaths last summer were children 0-4 years old and all occurred at home, most commonly in the backyard swimming pool. A lack of adult supervision was 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.

Don't drink or take drugs and swim

Last summer, 20 per cent of fatal drownings involved drugs or alcohol. All of these deaths occurred at inland waterways and all were male. 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

Nearly 25% 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.

More Information

Our water safety partners

​​​​​Campaign poster - don't drink or take drugs and swim

​​​​​​Campaign poster - supervise your kids near water