Swimming in lakes, creeks, dam and rivers can be great fun and an excellent way to beat the heat this summer, but they can also be exceptionally dangerous. We want your summer 2016/2017 to be the best summer yet, so don’t forget to brush up on your water safety before venturing out in the great outdoors, whether you’re water skiing, kayaking or swimming.
Beware of boats
Don’t swim in designated ski areas or near boat ramps. Speed boats towing skiiers may not see you in time to stop.
Always wear a life jacket
Even if you are a great swimmer, hidden dangers can lurk beneath the surface. Be sure to wear a life jacket or flotation device.
Don’t swim alone
Always ensure someone is sitting on the bank of the lake or river keeping an eye on you, even if you are a strong swimmer. If you are supervising children, have an experience swimmer in the water with them, and someone on the bank who is observing; actively watching, not sleeping or reading a book.
Don’t drink and swim
Avoid alcohol. Aside from dehydrating you in the hot weather, alcohol affects your judgement – even if you don’t think it does.
Avoid getting water up your nose
Amoebic Meningoencephalitis, a brain-eating parasite and other dangerous bacterias and algae can breed in warm stagnant or slow moving water. Your best option is to avoid putting your head under or use nose clips.
Never swim where two rivers meet
The spot where two rivers can cause strong currents which can drag even the most experienced swimmer under.
Get out if your teeth start chattering
Even on a hot day, fresh water can be deceptively cold. Ease yourself into the water slowly giving your body a chance to acclimatise to avoid cold-shock. Shivering indicates the very early stages of hypothermia so get out and dry off as soon as possible.
Don’t dive in
Check the depth and for hidden debris – logs, branches, rubbish – before jumping or diving into the water, even if you frequently visit the same swimming spot. Always enter feet first.
Look for a safe swimming spot
If you’re new to the area, look for a swimming spot with easy access to and from the water, clear water where you can see the bottom and a weak current.