Three men on sailboat wearing lifejackets

Make The Right Call

Make The Right Call is a Royal Life Saving WA initiative supported by the Western Australian Department of Health

Half of all drowning deaths recorded in WA are adults aged 45 years and over. We know that Aussies have grown up around water and have their own tips and tricks to stay safe, but anyone can drown, regardless of age, skills or experience. Water can overpower you, sometimes when you least expect it. Being prepared, by knowing the risks and how to identify dangers for yourself and others can save lives. 

Before jumping in, setting sail or casting a line...Make the Right Call.

Consider the following four actions to stay safe and have fun!

Know the conditions

It is best to always check local weather and water conditions before heading into the water. We recommend chatting to locals to ensure you choose a safe spot to swim, fish or boat.You can also visit BOM for live weather updates. Remember, conditions can change quickly so if the waves, weather or swell threaten your spot then leave immediately.

Remember it is important to know the area! Read all the safety signage – it has been placed there for a reason. 

Are you going rock fishing?

Observe first, fish later. Take the time to watch your chosen spot (we recommend 20 minutes) and get an idea of the conditions (e.g., full swell/wave cycle). If you’re in doubt, don’t fish. 

We recommend reading these tips on staying safe while rock fishing.

Know your limits

Alcohol and water don't mix! 

Avoid the tins before getting in. While a cold drink may be appealing on a hot day, it's best to avoid alcohol when you're around the water. Alcohol can lead you to behave in a way you normally wouldn't. It can increase risk-taking behaviours and impair reaction time and judgement. It's better to leave the booze until you're safely away from the water. 

Stay capable, stay afloat

Regardless of how much time you might have spent around the water, your physical abilities change day to day. Ageing can also bring about limitations that may affect your safety around the water. It's important to be conscious of changes in your physical fitness, medical conditions and the effect of medications before you jump in. We recommend you: 

  • Chat to your doctor - tell your doctor that you are exercising and ask for a health check to ensure you are ready to go.
  • Consider the effects of medication - talk your pharmacist or doctor about whether any of your medications will affect your ability to be physically active.
  • Talk to the lifeguards - if you have a medical condition or don’t feel as fit as you used to, let the lifeguard know before getting in.
  • Swim in a supervised area - when it comes to safety, socialising and support there’s no better place to swim than your local aquatic centre.

Know the gear

Wear the right gear!

Having a lifejacket on your boat is a great first step, but it can't save your life if you're not wearing it! Every year lives are lost in recreational boating incidents. Tragically, many could have survived had they been wearing a lifejacket, especially in smaller boats. With discounted, slimline lifejackets available through the Old4New program and free lifejackets available for loan from RecFishWest, there is really no excuse not to wear one! You wouldn’t drive without a seatbelt, so why would you go out on the water without a lifejacket? 

Do you have one of our lifejackets and want to know how to maintain it? Find more information here. Read more button

Or book into a Department of Transport Make a Difference lifejacket clinics here. Register Now

Take a mate

Males are more likely to participate in aquatic activities alone and get themselves in a sticky situation. Going by yourself is risky. The water can be overpowering and if things go sideways, having a pal there could save your life. Maybe we think ‘nothing will happen to me’ but no fishing trip or joy ride is worth is worth your life. Plus, taking a mate (or two) is lots more fun, safer and you can share the catch! Make The Right Call.


Try to wear light clothing, this will make it easier to swim if you’re washed in. Jumpers and thick cotton clothing become very heavy when wet and can make swimming difficult.

Footwear is also an important consideration. We recommend wearing shoes with non-slip soles is a good idea to prevent slipping, as steel-caps or heavier shoes will weigh you down.

Know what to do

If something goes wrong in or around the water, possessing the skills to respond could save a life. Call Triple Zero (000) in an emergency situation. We recommend learning and keeping up to date with your lifesaving skills.

Royal Life Saving WA has several programs available to support you: 

Aqua Skills 55+

The Aqua Skills 55+ is a water safety and lifesaving skills initiative for people aged over 55 years. The course is structured as four-week refresher suitable for people of all skill levels. The program covers personal survival techniques, improved swimming skills, skills to deal with emergency situations and water safety knowledge..

Check out available locations and dates at the link below.
 Register Now

First Aid and CPR

Gain the knowledge and skills to administer first aid until medical help arrives. Anyone at any time may need to give urgent assistance and a Royal Life Saving First Aid and/or CPR course will equip you with the necessary skills.

Enrol in one of our public First Aid courses or CPR courses today.

We also have a community education course called Heart Beat 45+ for adults who would like to learn more about how to respond in an emergency.

Grants are available for WA organisations, clubs, associations or small groups that would benefit from first aid training.

Explore more button 

Enrol in the Aqua Skills program today!

group of elderly swimmers

Enrol now button

Grants available for Heart Beat 45+

person practising CPR on a manikin

Heart Beat 45+ is a community education course for clubs, associations or small groups to refresh their resuscitation and first aid skills.

Explore more button

 slim-fitting lifejacket and Old4New logo

Upgrade your old, worn-out or obsolete lifejackets to a new modern slim-fitting inflatable one with our Old4New program!

Explore more button