How to Keep Safe in Australian Waters

The beaches on the continent of Australia are some of the best in the world. With the coastline here covering all edges of this island nation, it should come as no surprise that Australia has over 10,000 beaches in total. With so many water-based activities available, like swimming, snorkelling, scuba diving, kayaking, and more, you’ll likely enter the water at some point during your trip. However, while many visit here to experience the aquatic playground, it should be mentioned that being water safe while here is vital. There are many dangers associated with Australian waters, and while you can definitely enjoy the ocean, you should read the associated safety notices ahead of time. This blog will be about how to keep safe in Australian waters so that you can enjoy the country's beauty without putting yourself or your family in danger.

How Safe are Australian Beaches?

Australian beaches are often safe if they are monitored by lifeguards. The lifeguards will only be at certain beaches, so research ahead of time to find a beach that you like. Popular beaches like Bondi Beach in Sydney, for example, have lifeguards patrolling them every single day, so this is a great spot to head to if it is your first trip to the beach. 

What Guidelines are there for the Beaches?

There are several guidelines you should follow ahead of your visit to an Australian beach and while you’re there too. These guidelines include:

  • Never swim alone
  • Always swim between the red and yellow flags
  • Always swim on patrolled beaches
  • Never swim under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Always read the beach signs at the entranceway for local information

How Safe are Australian Beaches?

Australian beaches are often safe if they are monitored by lifeguards. The lifeguards will only be at certain beaches, so research ahead of time to find a beach that you like. Popular beaches like Bondi Beach in Sydney, for example, have lifeguards patrolling them every single day, so this is a great spot to head to if it is your first trip to the beach. 

What Should I Do Before I Swim?

The Australian waters are beautiful and fun but can be dangerous. Observing the water before going swimming can help you spot any immediate dangers and influence your decision. Rough rolling waves may indicate that the water is too dangerous to swim in. Waves that aren’t breaking may indicate a rip current, which could be extremely unsafe to swim in. 

What is a Rip Current, and What Should I Do If I Get Caught in One?

Rip currents are formed when the water flowing onto the beach heads back out to the ocean quickly. This need for speed creates a channel with fast-flowing water and a powerful pull that even the strongest swimmers may struggle with. Rips are noticeable by being darker in colour with no waves breaking. Rips are marked on the beach with a ‘dangerous current’ sign that you should pay attention to. 

If you get caught in a rip you should do the following: 

  • Stay calm and save energy by floating
  • Raise your weaker arm in the sky to indicate to beach dwellers and lifeguards that you are in trouble
  • Don’t swim against the rip, but instead work out the water flow, and swim perpendicular to it
  • A rip will usually take you to the back of the break. Once here, aim to move towards the whitewash, before letting the waves push you back to the beach.
What Do I Do About Marine Life?

There is plenty of marine life in the oceans surrounding Australia, and you must be aware of the dangers when entering. As well as this, knowing what to do in an emergency could potentially save you from harm. 

  • If you are stung by a jellyfish, you need to stay calm. Remove the jellyfish tentacles with your fingers to scrape them off your skin. Don’t touch your face, skin, or eyes as the stingers could still be on your fingers. Immediately shower in warm water to ease the pain, before alerting lifeguards about the jellyfish.
  • Sharks are known to be found in Australian waters. Many beaches have shark nets laid out in the ocean to deter sharks from coming close to shore. Avoid swimming at dusk, far away from the shore, and in river mouths. As always, the safest place to swim is between the flags.
  • If you are in the north of the country, particularly in far north Queensland or in the Northern Territory, crocodiles can sometimes be found in the waters. Do not swim in rivers, estuaries, mangrove shores, the sea, or deep pools, and always check for signs at beaches that indicate that crocodiles may be present.


There are many ways to enjoy the ocean here in Australia safely. While certain dangers are associated with the water in this island nation, most people can vacation here every year with no fuss or worry. Keep safe, follow the beach rules, and most importantly, have a great vacation!

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