VicPol Corporate

Beach and waterways safety

This page contains information and safety tips on how to stay safe at the beach and waterways across Victoria. 

Beach safety

Before a day at the beach, remember to:

  • Always swim between the red and yellow flags
  • Swim with a friend
  • Always supervise children around water, remembering that 20 seconds is all it takes for a children to drown. For every toddler who drowns, another 10 are hospitalised, some left with permanent disabilities. Keep children under 5 years within arms’ reach, and those ten years of age and younger always in your line of sight.
  •  If you are not feeling comfortable in the water and you require a lifeguard’s assistance to get back to shore, stay calm, raise your arm in the air and wave it from side to side. This will attract the attention of a lifeguard who will be able to come to your assistance. You should conserve your energy by floating on your back and staying calm. This will ensure you have the energy to remain afloat until further aid arrives.


For a safe fishing adventure including

  • banks
  • shore
  • piers 
  • platforms

use the following checklist:

  • Check water and weather conditions before you go.
  • Always tell friends or family of your plans – where you are going and when you will be returning.
  • Never fish alone – always fish with a friend.
  • Wear a personal flotation device and carry safety gear and a first-aid kit.
  • Wear appropriate clothing with non-slip soles.
  • Watch the water at all times as conditions can change dramatically in a short time.

Rivers and creeks

Before a day at the river, creek or dam:

  • Check the weather forecast at and watch for changing conditions.
  • Read safety signs to understand dangers.
  • Wear a lifejacket when boating.
  • Drink alcohol responsibly around water and other water activities.
  • Always swim with a friend.
  • Learn how to save a life by doing a CPR or first-aid course.
  • Be aware of unstable edges on river banks, dam banks and lakes.
  • Inland waterways have many hidden dangers such as submerged objects, debris and strong currents
  • Be aware of the effects of cold water on your body.
  • Never overestimate your abilities… and never underestimate the risks
  • Be prepared for unexpected falls into water.
  • Refresh water safety skills including personal survival techniques, swimming skills and water safety knowledge.

For more information on respecting the rivers.

Reviewed 09 November 2020

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