Make sure you have a safe and enjoyable holiday in New South Wales by keeping the following safety tips at hand. And don't forget - help keep the pristine environment of NSW in good shape by removing any of your own rubbish.
In an emergency, telephone 000.
Swimming and surfing
- Be careful where you dive - accidents often result from diving into shallow water.
- Beware of slippery banks or paths near waterfalls.
- If you get into trouble in the water, stay calm. Signal for help, then float and wait for assistance.
- Float with a current or undertow. Don't try to swim against it.
- Be cautious of submerged objects and snags in muddy water.
- At the beach always swim between the red and yellow flags - not outside them. The flags mark the safest place to swim and the area where lifesavers and lifeguards patrol.
- Many surf beaches in Australia have strong currents, called rips. These are powerful currents of water that can drag you along. If you find yourself being caught in a rip, do not panic. Stay calm, float with the current and raise your hand, or swim across it, not against it.
- Read and obey the warning signs on beaches and beach access points.
- Always swim with others. Children should always be accompanied in the water by an adult who can swim.
- Never swim under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or in darkness.
- Avoid contact with any sea creatures you might encounter at the beach. While they may look harmless some inflict a sting or a bite. Be particularly careful of marine stingers in coastal waters of northern Australia.
- Never run, jump or dive into shallow water.
- If you are unsure of the surf conditions check with a lifesaver.
- The sun in Australia is very strong. Always wear a shirt, hat, sunglasses and sunscreen lotion.
- Become more shark aware and increase your safety in the water.
- When fishing in NSW waters, both freshwater and saltwater, you are required by law to pay the NSW Recreational Fishing Fee and carry a receipt showing the payment of the fee. This applies when spear fishing, hand lining, hand gathering, trapping, bait collecting and prawn netting or when in possession of fishing gear in, on or adjacent to waters.
- Make sure you have lifejackets for all on board whenever you are out boating.
- Take care when rock fishing – a disproportionate number of people drown while rock fishing.
- Choose the safest possible location, and take time to observe the conditions.
- Never fish alone.
- Be aware of the tides and weather.
- Wear appropriate footwear, clothing and head protection.
- Wear a buoyancy vest if you are not a strong swimmer.
- Check your craft thoroughly in all respects before heading out on the water.
- It is important that all safety gear is in good condition and ready for use because a lifejacket stowed under the anchor chain or a distress flare which has expired will not do the job it was designed for and that is to help save a life.
- Lifejackets are perhaps the single most important safety item on any boat and there should be one on board for each person.
- It is recommended that children and poor swimmers wear one at all times when afloat.
- Take a break from driving at least every two hours.
- Avoid drinking before driving - driving skills can be effected by drug and alcohol use.
- Remember: Stop. Revive. Survive.
- Travel at a safe speed and slow down on dirt roads as road surfaces can change without notice.
- Avoid travelling at dawn, dusk and at night as wildlife and stock wander.
- In the event of a breakdown or delay, stay near your vehicle.
- Carry plenty of drinking water and snacks in case of breakdown or delay.
- Observe RTA and local council advisory signs concerning road closures. Travelling on closed roads can incur a substantial fine.
- Check road conditions before setting out on unsealed roads with the local visitor information centre, local council, police or motoring authority. Special care should be taken if taking remote and local roads.
- Always plan your trip carefully in advance.
- Leave written details of your route and expected time of return with a responsible person.
- Take your time; set a pace that the slowest member of your party can handle.
- Make sure you have plenty of water, and that you know where fresh water is available along your track.
- Always carry a well-equipped first aid kit.
- Never light a campfire on a day of total fire ban.
Find out more about safety in national parks and reserves.