​Swimming Safety

Swimming is a vital skill for all ages to learn. It’s important for children to learn from a young age and continue until they reach a competent level.

Learn to swim

Children can begin swimming programs from six months of age. Swimming classes build confidence and introduce children to basic water safety.

This is a photo of a Mother standing in a swimming pool holding a child
Image: Courtesy of Royal Life Saving NSW
Sadly many people miss out on learning to swim at a younger age due to cultural, geographic, or socio economic reasons.

Swimming and water safety lessons are not only important to help prevent people drowning, they open up many opportunities to join different sports teams, social activities or careers. It’s never too late to learn. Take the plunge and sign up for lessons!  

Swimming lessons are no substitute for adult supervision. Always keep watch of children and weak swimmers when they are in and around water.

Safety tips

There are many things you can do to ensure that both adults and children can swim in a fun, safe environment.


  • Never swim alone - it is important to always swim with another person
  • Check for currents or rips 
  • Enter water slowly and feet first
  • Swim between the red and yellow flags at the beach
  • Check the depth of the water and look for submerged objects in inland waterways
  • Check the conditions. Ask someone who is familiar with the area 
  • Follow the advice of lifeguards or lifesavers and ask them for help if you’re unsure
  • Look for and read the water safety signs. Ask someone who speaks English to help you understand instructions
  • Take care of slippery or uneven surfaces around or in the water
  • Avoid drugs and alcohol around water
  • Be aware of your medical conditions and their impact around water
  • Know your limit – don’t take risks around water
  • If you are caught in a rip or current, float on your back and travel downstream
  • If you get into trouble in the water, stay calm. Signal for help, then float and wait for assistance. Float with a current or undertow.
  • Wear a lifejacket whenever boating, rock fishing, or using a watercraft
  • Learn lifesaving skills


Children should be actively supervised whenever around water. Drowning can happen quickly and silently. Supervision is the best protection against child drowning. Stay close and within arm’s reach at all times. 

Royal Life Saving recommends the following Keep Watch safety tips to keep your child safe from drowning:

  1. Actively supervise children around water
  2. Restrict Access
  3. Teach water awareness
  4. Learn how to resuscitate
These should not be used individually but together to maximise child safety. If one line of defence fails, the other prevention measures will be actively working to prevent child drowning. 
Royal Life Saving has a range of information and resources for child safety in various locations. 

There are many scenarios where your knowledge of water safety is crucial: