Stay safe around water this summer

Australian Greens

The ACT Government is raising awareness of the dangers in and around waterways and practical steps Canberrans can take to stay safe, whether you’re enjoying nature in areas like our rivers and lakes, or in backyard pools this summer.

With the expected hot weather over the coming summer, we know Canberrans will want to take advantage of our natural waterways around the territory,” Minister Gentleman said.

It’s important for people to understand the unpredictable nature of our waterways and be prepared in the event something occurs.”

Steps to ‘Reduce your risk around waterways’ include:

• Always let someone know where you are going and when you are planning to return. Ensure they know what to do if you are late in returning.

• Consider your swimming ability before entering the water and knowing your limits. If you’re unsure, stay out and keep away from the water’s edge.

• Check signage for any warnings and be aware of possible hazards in and around the water. Water depth in rivers can change suddenly, currents can be stronger than they appear, surfaces can be slippery or present trip hazards, and rocks and logs may be hidden below the surface.

• Take a first aid kit and ensure someone in your group is trained to use it.

• Consider your location and whether mobile phone reception or another means of communication is available in the event you need to call for help.

• In an emergency, call triple-zero.

We are also reviewing all signage and safety information at popular inland swimming spots to make sure hazard messaging is clear and accessible to the diverse Canberra community,” Minister Gentleman said.

Minister for Sustainable Building and Construction Rebecca Vassarotti said responsibility around water extends to the backyard as well, with home swimming pools being one of the most common locations for drowning for children under 5 years old.

“Whether in your own pool or somebody else’s, we are all responsible for keeping children and ourselves safe around pools,” Minister Vassarotti said.

“Make sure that pool fences, gates and other barriers are secure, and the gates are shut at all times.

“Consider building your skills and knowledge to help save young lives, such as learning how to perform CPR. For parents and guardians, take some time to help your kids further their swimming skills, teach them how to be safe around water, and closely supervise them while they are in and around the water.

“To further prevent serious injuries and death in our homes, we recently introduced reforms to improve home swimming pool safety. These reforms will commence on 1 May 2024 with a four-year transition period for homeowners to make sure that their swimming pool or spa has a safety barrier compliant with modern safety standards.”

/Public Release. View in full here.