With 85% of the population within 50km of the coast – it’s safe to say Australians are a beach loving nation!
Learning to swim and water safety is taught from a young age to the majority of residents, so it’s easy to forget what is common knowledge to an Australian isn’t known by visitors and tourists.
It’s important to know the dangers of water and how to stay safe – even if you can swim.
You’re not alone! There are swimming lessons/ teachers in all cities so before you get into the water, especially the beach, get some lessons first.
Swimming is a skill you have for life and it can also save your life, there really is no reason to not learn to swim.
It’s also fun, good exercise and allows you to confidently be in the water and participate in other aquatic activities such as surfing, canoeing, water skiing, sailing etc.
Australian cities are full of local swimming pools and this is the best place to learn. You can use Google to find a swimming teacher or class near you.
Safety at the beach
Australian beaches are beautiful – there’s no denying it! But the ocean can be a dangerous place with rough surfs, rip currents and marine creatures.
Tips to stay safe:
- Swim on a beach with life guards
- Swim between the red and yellow flags – this is the area patrolled by lifeguards
- Look for signs – there will be a warning sign around rough/dangerous areas and if the beach is closed there will be a sign (and possibly no people around)
- If you are not confident in open waters do not stray far from the shore
- Learn how to identify a rip current
- Swim with friends – safety in numbers!
- Do not swim under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- If you see someone in trouble – notify the lifeguards immediately
- If you’re in trouble (caught in a rip current) remain calm and wave your arm to draw attention to yourself, don’t swim against it or you’ll tire yourself out.
- Watch out for bluebottles, a jellyfish that has a nasty sting. They’re not always around but if you step on one or get stung in the ocean you’ll need to remove the tentacles and immerse the sting in hot water put an ice pack on it.
- Out of the water you’ll need to stay safe too – make sure you wear sun screen, stay hydrated and sit in the shade.