December 1 marks the start of one of Australia’s most high risk summers by the water as El Nino drives up more than just the mercury. New research shows there is a 28% greater risk of swimming and bathing related drowning during heatwaves. It’s time to start thinking about Summer safety by the water.

An El Nino event has officially been declared by the BOM, and lifeguards have made their return to beachfronts in anticipation of a bumper summer season. Before Australians go rushing back to the water, two prominent water safety advocates have united with a timely and vital message.

Poolwerx and Surf Life Saving Australia are urging Australians to prioritise proactive water safety from the backyard to the beachfront, after new data revealed there were over 280 drowning related deaths in the past 12 months.

Poolwerx has unveiled a Summer safety by the water ‘Safety Checklist’ to help Australians remain safe this summer. The simple three-step system encourages pool-goers to secure their gates and fences; learn vital swimming skills, CPR, and emergency action plans; and watch your friends’ and family’s back while around water.

Spending time by the water is part of the fabric of our Australian summers, so we need to ensure that everyone, not just parents with young children, are setting themselves up for a joyful end to the year, not a tragic one..

Even if it’s somewhat common knowledge, the easy protocols should be revisited and memorised to help put an end to preventable backyard drownings after new figures from the Royal Life Saving Australia National Drowning Report revealed 29 people drowned in a pool over the past 12 months.

Libby Trickett stands by a glass pool fence that has a Summer Safety Checklists stuck on the gate.

“One in seven Australians live in a house with a swimming pool or spa, so it’s crucial that we stop and educate ourselves on how to safely enjoy these pastimes as we head into the swimming season.”

A recent study has revealed there is a 17% greater risk of drowning during heatwaves, with swimming and bathing-related incidents showing a particularly alarming 28% increase compared to non-heatwave days. The Bureau of Meteorology has recently confirmed that another El Niño event is underway in Australia – an event which has been linked with an increased risk of heatwaves.

“It’s not just children who are at risk around water–recent stats show us that adults, particularly those aged over 45, accounted for almost 60% of drownings—so this checklist provides steps towards a safer summer for all Australians.”

Research shows us that as the temperature climbs, so too does the risk of drowning, so right now, it has never been more important for Australians to arm themselves with the skills to stay vigilant, informed and ultimately safe around water.

Surf Life Saving Australia CEO Adam Weir, said although this year’s drowning toll was down from previous years, Australians can’t afford to become complacent with awareness around water.

“Sadly, there were 125 coastal drowning deaths recorded in the last year, and while this was a nine per cent decrease compared to the previous year, it is still three per cent above the 10-year average.

Understanding basic safety around all water environments will help to bring this number down, and that’s what we’re asking of Australians ahead of a really hot summer season,”

Surf Life Saving is appealing for the public to understand their limitations and swim at patrolled beaches between the red and yellow flags while on our coastline, and while in our backyards, ensure that all swimmers, irrespective of age, are going through their own water safety checklist to help prevent incidents and/or drownings.

“Now is the perfect time to educate and prepare for the warmer months ahead. The checklist is a small action that will make a big difference. We’re all eager to be heading back into the water, but before that, it’s important that we brush up on our water safety skills and awareness. Having this checklist by the pool is a simple but effective way to keep life-saving habits front of mind for friends, family and loved ones.”

Poolwerx Ambassador and former Olympian Libby Trickett

Every single life lost to drowning is one too many and that’s why we’re all coming together to show that whether you’re in the pool or at the beach this summer, everyone needs to take water safety seriously.

Download your own Summer Safety Checklist HERE or visit to find out more.

What else are we talking about?