Two men standing next to each other and talking next to a river. They are both looking out toward the river.
WATER SAFE: Royal Life Saving NSW Riverina Manager Michael Dasey and Council Recreation Coordinator Josh Walsh are reminding the community to practise water safety this summer.


Hot weather and holiday season prompt water safety reminders

Published: 12 Dec 2023 9:12am

As hot weather is upon us, and the school holidays about to commence, Wagga Wagga City Council and Royal Life Saving NSW (RLSNSW) are reminding residents and visitors to remain vigilant and stay safe around water.

It is important that all people, regardless of age, background, abilities and familiarity with the water practise water safety throughout the summer.

All waterways pose a constant risk, including home and public swimming pools, lakes, creeks, dams and rivers.

A warning sign next to a River
WARNINGS: Common risks associated with the Murrumbidgee River include submerged objects, fast currents and steep drop-offs which can cause dangerous situations for swimmers.

Council’s Manager Recreation & Economic Development Ben Creighton emphasises the need for all community members to take care around water.

“This summer, like every summer, we are reminding the community to be careful around the water,” Mr Creighton said.

"We would especially like to remind everyone of the risks when swimming or boating at the Murrumbidgee River.

“The river is unpredictable, with fast currents, cold water and underwater debris, all of which can create dangerous situations within seconds.

“Ensure you check the conditions before entering the water, and if you're using watercraft always wear a life jacket.”

RLSNSW Riverina Manager Michael Dasey endorsed the importance of taking care around waterways.

“Be vigilant, be aware and be smart about the decisions you make around the inland waterways this summer,” Mr Dasey said.

“Don’t go alone, don’t underestimate and don’t consume alcohol or drugs prior to engaging in aquatic activities.

“Aquatic tragedies affect everyone in the community because they can be prevented.

“Learning CPR and doing a first aid course can give you the skills that could one day help you save a life.”

A red life-ring next to a River.
LIFE-SAVING DEVICE: Council is reminding people that the life-rings located at the Wagga Beach are there for emergency situations only and should not be misused.

Life-saving equipment is available to the public at the Wagga Beach, including two life-rings available at the beach, and one located at The Rocks', as well as a defibrillator (AED).

Recently the life-rings have been misused for recreational activities, and Council would like to encourage people to bring their own floatation devices to the River and only use the life-rings for emergency situations.

The availability of the life-rings could be the difference in a life-or-death situation.

When asked what people should do if they see someone in trouble in the water, Michael Dasey said it is important to remember the need for self-preservation.

"The first rule is to ask yourself 'are you able to assist that person in a safe manner?' The worst thing would be to have two tragedies, Mr Dasey said.

"We always remind people to understand what your limitations are, and if you believe you can assist the person always try the safest approach first, usually that is to grab something such as one of the life-rings, swim out and give it to the person and see what happens.

"As long as they've got hold of something we usually find the outcomes are positive, it's when they don't have hold of something they start to panic, if there is someone there the first thing they usually want to do is grab hold of that person, that creates the problems and can cause dual fatalities."

General water safety tips:

  • Learn to swim
  • Teach children how to swim
  • Never swim alone
  • Avoid drugs and alcohol around water
  • Learn lifesaving skills
  • Adults should actively supervise children around water at all times.

Safety tips around natural waterways, i.e: rivers, dams, creeks:

  • Check the conditions before entering the water
  • If it’s flooded, forget it!
  • Always enter the water slowly, feet first
  • Take care on uneven or slippery water edges
  • Beware of submerged objects such as trees, branches, rocks and rubbish
  • Remember the river can change hourly
  • Wear a lifejacket.

For more information and safety tips, visit and Council’s website at