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SA Water Safety Guide

Water Safety Zcard guideThrough generous support of the Office for Recreation and Sport (ORS), the SA Water Safety Committee has produced a guide with useful information to promote water safety in our state.

This guide has been created in a zCard style publication and had been distributed to all participants of the 2014-15 VACSWIM programme, and further supplies provided to key stakeholders for distribution. You can download the publication HERE, or contact us for a copy.





Launch of the 2014-2015 Water Safety Promotion - Rundle Mall

Water safety organisations converged on Rundle Mall Monday 1 December 2014 to remind South Australians of the need to constantly consider their safety when in and around water.

On display was a Surf Life Saving Jet Ski and a State Emergency Service Rescue Rib along with eight organisations both government and non-government providing water safety information.

SAFECOM - 2013 Water Safety Promotion

Image taken from the 2013 Water Safety Promotion

World Health Organisation (WHO) releases global report on drowning prevention

The WHO Global report on drowning: preventing a leading killer highlights that 372,000 people drown worldwide each year. Drowning is among the ten leading causes of death for children and young people in every region of the world. The report sets out the evidence showing a range of effective drowning prevention strategies, and makes a number of recommendations for concrete measures to be taken by national and local governments. With the release of this report, WHO aims to galvanize attention and action to this issue by highlighting how collaboration across sectors can save lives.

Download the full report HERE

National Drowning Prevention Summit 2014

The Australian Water Safety Council (AWSC)  hosted the National Drowning Prevention Summit 2014 in Sydney.

The Summit provided a vital focus to the Australian Water Safety Council's goal of 'Reducing drowning deaths by 50% by 2020'. A series of symposiums created a forum for those working in the water safety and drowning prevention sector to review the progress of the Australian Water Safety Strategy 2012-15 and identified the critical steps needed to achieve this goal.

To view the program and presentations -

Pool Fencing - amendments to the development regulations

From 1 January 2014 amendments to the Development Regulations 2008 will require councils to inspect all new pools for compliance. Building Advisory Notice Council inspections of new swimming pools provides information explaining the new requirements.  More information can be found  HERE.  


Child Death and Serious Injury Review Committee (CDSIRC) provide in-depth review on drowning in SA in annual report 2012-13 

In February 2006 legislation was proclaimed establishing the Child Death and Serious Injury Review Committee (CDSIRC). This legislation is contained in Part 7C of the Children's Protection Act 1993.

The Committee's role is to help prevent death and serious injury to children now and in the future.

Within the CDSIRC annual report for 2012-13 is an in-depth review on drowning in SA:

In the eight year period between 2005 and 2012, 23 children have drowned in South Australia. Sixteen of these deaths were children 0–4 years old (70%); four children were aged between 5–9 years; the remaining three deaths were children 10–17 years old. Eight drownings
occurred in private swimming pools.

Thirteen young children aged 0–4 years drowned in their home environment: seven young children drowned in private swimming pools; a further six 0–4 year olds drowned in fish ponds, buckets or a water tank. The three other deaths in this age group occurred in waterways such as rivers and lakes.

Statistics - Drowning
  • Of all children 0-17 years the youngest age group of 0-4 year olds continues to be the most likely to drown.
  • These young children are more likely to drown in their home environment
Issues - Drowning
  • Lapses in safety precautions and noncompliance with legislative requirements about swimming pool safety are major contributors to the deaths of young children in domestic swimming pools.
  • The Coroner has recommended that the Attorney-General consider a system of regular swimming pool safety inspections. The Attorney-General has sought public opinion about monitoring compliance with swimming pool legislation. The results of this consultation are pending.


For the full report access HERE - CDSIRC Annual Report 2012-13

For the CDSIRC website access HERE - CDSIRC Website

Kayaks and canoes - Safety reference guide 'Be smart, Paddle safe'

Kayaking and canoeing is one of the fastest growing recreational activities in South Australia.

A kayak can open up the state's waterways for anyone interested in fishing, keeping fit or simply enjoying the picturesque rivers and coastline.

However, kayaking is not without risks. Because these craft sit low in the water they are susceptible to risks such as capsizing, blowing off course, taking on water and reduced visibility.

A new guide, the Be smart. Paddle safe
. Safety Reference Guide is produced by the Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure (DPTI) to instruct kayakers how to reduce these risks.

State Water Safety Plan 2013 -2015

With our love of water-based activities like swimming, fishing and boating, water safety is an important issue for all Australians. In South Australia, the prevention of water-related injuries and drowning deaths is a high priority.  While our State has maintained relatively low numbers of drowning deaths, no deaths are acceptable and all are considered preventable.

The State Water Safety Plan provides a guide to government and industry organisations to minimise the risk of water-related injury and drowning deaths, through collaboration, promotion, education, prevention initiatives and ongoing commitment. 

New Guide to help protect Coastal Waters

There are more than one million recreational vessels in Australia and there is huge opportunity for marine pests to be inadvertently spread as boats move from one place to another.

Identifying and reducing these marine pests has just been made easier, thanks to a new guide published by the Conservation Council SA.

The Boat Owners Guide to Caring for our Coastal Waters  is a 16-page booklet detailing practical ways to reduce your boat's running costs, while also looking after our coastal waters.

The aim of the guide is to inform boat owners about simple actions they can take to help reduce marine pests.

Essential Distress Beacon Information

121.5 MHz distress beacons are no longer detected by satellite.

You MUST switch to a 406 MHz distress beacon as soon as possible.

Do not risk your life by relying on a 121.5 MHz distress beacon.

You must register your 406 MHz distress beacon with AMSA to assist search and rescue response. Registration is free and more information is available here. 

When are you required to carry an EPIRB?

Vessels are required to carry an emergency beacon if they are:

  • recreational vessels more than five nautical miles from shore in Gulf of St Vincent or Spencer Gulf
    three nautical miles from shore in other State waters, except Lakes Alexandrina or Albert
  • commercial vessels being operated more than three nautical miles from a coast.

Safety Gear Rules

Changes to safety equipment requirements for recreational vessels mean that most vessels operating in semi-protected waters must now carry the following safety equipment:

  • Personal Flotation Device Type 1 for each person aboard the vessel
  • two red hand held flares
  • two hand held orange smoke signals.

For more information about boating and marine safety visit