Be safe on and in the water this summer

Whether it’s at the beach, on the river, in the pool or at sea, South Australians are being urged to stay safe around the water this summer.

The State Government, together with Surf Life Saving SA, the Police Water Operations Unit, Royal Life Saving Society, the State Emergency Service and Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure’s Marine Safety Unit are urging safety, responsibility, caution and common sense.

Boaters are being warned to watch out for ‘licensed’ or ‘approved’ swimming flotation aids being advertised for children which don’t meet lifejacket safety standards for boats.

Safety on the River Murray is also a particular focus this year, with a very wet winter and spring causing high water levels and strong currents.

River Murray flows are expected to peak at Morgan this Friday and then Murray Bridge on 28 December.

Tragically 280 people drowned in Australian waterways last financial year. 13 of those were in South Australia, with 39% at the beach.

Almost half of those who died were swimming while 15% were boating, prompting the following safety reminders:

At the beach:

  • Always swim between the red and yellow flags
  • Always read the safety signs to be aware of any warning or dangers on the beach
  • Swim with a friend
  • Ask a lifeguard for safety advice
  • If you need help, stay calm and attract attention

Shark patrols are operational from North Haven to Rapid Bay and along the south coast between Victor Harbor and Goolwa between 9.45am and 7.30pm every day during the school holidays.

Following the school holidays, patrols revert to daily coverage of the metropolitan coast, extending to the south coast on weekends and public holidays, until late April.

For information about patrol times, beach hazards and live local conditions at any beach in Australia download the free Beachsafe App for Apple or Android.

Out on the boat:

  • Check the weather before heading out
  • Ensure you have plenty of fuel
  • Always have a properly fitted and maintained lifejacket
  • Always carry the required safety equipment
  • Ensure all children are wearing a lifejacket
  • Always tell family or friends of your plans on the water and when you expect to return
  • Avoid alcohol around water

SA Police Water Operation Unit and DPTI marine safety officers will be out in force during the holidays across SA waterways to monitor boating activity and provide help and advice where needed.

For more information about boating and marine safety go to the DPTI On Deck website or to keep up to date with regulations visit the SA Government’s boating and marine page.

On the River Murray:

The same safety reminders apply as for swimming at the beach or being out on a boat at sea and you should be conscious of others around you.

With high water levels, the wash from boats and jet skis has the potential to severely damage properties along the River Murray

Dangerous activity or river hazards can be reported to the Murray Watch phone line on 8531 0710.

In the pool:

  • Always ensure your swimming pool or spa complies with safety standards, including gates, fences, pumps, grates and suction, chemicals and electricity
  • Always ensure children in the water are supervised by a responsible adult
  • Always ensure your CPR and First Aid skills are up-to-date
  • Always ensure there is a First Aid kit handy
  • Avoid alcohol around water
  • Consider getting a professional assessment of your pool’s safety compliance

Download the Royal Life Saving Society’s Home Pool Safety app or visit the Home Pool Safety website and download the home pool safety checklist.