image of a quiet river

When enjoying inland waterways, it's important to be aware of the risks

Whether you're swimming, boating, or even just relaxing on the bank, there are many hidden dangers you may not be aware of.

The flat, still surface of an inland waterway can give a false sense of security. Currents, undertows or submerged objects – even in seemingly tranquil waterways – can prove to be very dangerous.

What makes these locations dangerous?

  • Currents and fast-flowing water
  • Sudden changes in water depth - shallow to deep water without warning
  • Submerged objects such as rocks and tree branches
  • Slippery banks and uneven surfaces
  • Changing seasonal patterns and floodwater
  • Cold water - temperatures in rivers, lakes and dams can drop to freezing levels in winter and cause cold water shock if you fall in
  • No patrolling lifeguards to assist in the event of trouble

Respect the River - Safety Tips

  • Check conditions before entering the water
  • Enter the water slowly, feet first
  • Take care around crumbling riverbanks and slippery dam edges
  • Avoid underwater obstacles such as rocks, branches or rubbish
  • Take care when walking on unstable or slippery riverbeds
  • Avoid crossing flooded waterways
  • Avoid alcohol and drugs around water
  • Wear a lifejacket when boating or using watercraft
  • Always swim with someone