The Importance of Water Safety in Various Waterways

26 May 2022
Aquatics Learn to Swim, Swimming Lessons

Knowing how to stay safe in and around water and learning to swim are vital skills for life. But how well do you know your water safety in aquatic settings other than the swimming pool? 

There are many different waterways and types of aquatic settings you may come across throughout Australia, each with different rules, hazards to look out for and important safety advice to follow. Knowing this advice could be the lifesaving factor if you find yourself in a tricky situation, and could prevent injuries, other medical emergencies and drownings. Whether you are on a holiday, a family outing, a school excursion or going about your everyday life, you can never be too prepared for an unforeseen water incident as they can occur even in predominantly dry settings. 

Did you know? In 2021, 294 people drowned in Australian waterways, a 20% increase on the previous year, according to the Royal Life Saving Society. In addition, a whopping 674 non-fatal drowning incidents were reported, pushing the total drowning figure up to 968. Interestingly, the top three locations for drowning deaths included rivers and creeks, the beach, and ocean and harbour settings, with lakes, dams and swimming pools following. These unfortunate cases reiterate the importance of knowing how to stay safe in and around various types of waterways and aquatic settings. 

Consider our top 5 reasons why you and your child should learn how to be safe in different waterways: 

  1. Knowing your waterways safety can save a life! With careful consideration of potential water safety hazards and the knowledge of safety advice, your actions could save a life. 

  1. Waterways safety knowledge will support your child’s ability to keep themselves safe. This may help to alleviate concern in instances where you may not be present to support your child, such as on a school excursion or other activity whilst in the care of other adults. 

  1. You will know what to look out for. Many water hazards are unsuspected, however with waterways safety knowledge you will have a better understanding of what conditions and warning signs to look out for in different settings. 

  1. Waterways safety knowledge supports safe decision making in group settings. Learning about specific hazards and conditions in different waterways can educate and support informed decision making, such as whether it is safe to swim in a waterhole or how to check the depth of a river before entering the water. This is particularly helpful in group setting where children and adolescents can succumb to peer pressure or become blinded to hazards due to excitement and distraction. 

  1. You will be able to confidently enjoy swimming and leisurely activities in various waterways. Nothing is better for swimming progression than consistency in lessons and swimming practice. Enjoy swimming and leisurely activities in different aquatic settings knowing you can stay safe. 


Feeling empowered to improve your own or your child’s waterways safety knowledge? 

Enrol in or continue your GOswim lessons this winter to be a part of our Waterways Adventure! Collect an exclusive GOswim sticker for each swimming lesson you attend this term, weaving your way through different waterways and learning important waterways safety advice along the exciting journey. The adventure begins on 6 June… click below or stay tuned for more information. 


Want to learn more about safety in different waterways? View our GOswim Waterways Adventure - ‘How to stay safe in waterways’ information booklet below, or follow GOswim on Facebook or Instagram for regular tips and advice on swimming and water safety. 


For more information on Royal Life Saving’s key findings and research on Australian drownings, visit

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