Water Safety in Regional and Remote Areas
Living and working in remote locations has a huge bearing on people's access to swimming and water safety education as well as emergency care in the event of an accident, all of which put regional and rural communities at greater risk of drowning.

One-third of the Australian population live in regional and remote communities, outside the major cities. Regional and remote communities pose unique challenges for water safety drowning prevention.

Regional and remote areas can be often have limited program availability, lifesaving services, mobile phone service and emergency response times are longer.

But we know that communities in regional and remote areas often undertake more activities around water close to home, and there are a few simple safety tips to help keep communities and families safer around water.

While it is not always feasible to fence off large water bodies, there are some simple measures that can make the environment as safe as possible. Ensure children are actively supervised and create child safe play areas to restrict access to water, especially on rural properties. Child safe play areas restrict a child’s access to water by creating a barrier between the child and a drowning hazard.

Around the home and on regional and rural properties, fill in any unused holes where water can gather such as ditches, dips and postholes. Cover any water storage locations such as wells, troughs and tanks.

When swimming, boating, kayaking, fishing at river, lakes or dams, always go with a friend or group. Some locations can be very remote and isolated with limited or no mobile phone reception, so it is very important to let someone know of your location in case of an emergency. Also knowing first aid and CPR skills is important when emergency service response times can be longer.

Drowning in regional and remote areas
172
People drown each year regional and remote areas
30%
Of drowning deaths in regional and remote areas occur in rivers
22%
Of people were swimming and recreating immediately prior to drowning
15%
Of people drowned after an unintentional fall
Drowning deaths by remoteness
81%
Of people drowned in inner and outer regional areas
19%
Of people drowned in remote and very remote areas
8x
Drowning rate in remote areas compared with major cities
13x
Drowning rate in very remote areas compared with major cities

Risk factors

  • Geographical remoteness
  • Unrestricted access to natural waterways, especially for children
  • Increased emergency response times
  • Increased accessibility to water bodies on properties
  • Limited mobile phone service
  • Alcohol consumption

How to stay safe

Make the Right Call
Find Out More
Respect the River Program
Find out more