Water safety

Whether you’re snorkelling on a sparkling reef, canoeing up a quiet river or floating silently in a volcanic lake, be safe and take care of yourself and the environment around you.

Waterways, lakes and beaches in Queensland’s national parks and forests may contain hidden obstacles and are not patrolled by lifesavers. Take great care—you swim at your own risk.

    Care around water

    • Always read and heed on-site information and signs. Follow directions on signs—directions are provided for your safety.
    • Always supervise children when near water.
    • Know your own limits.
    • Stay out of water if conditions look dangerous.
    • Don’t swim alone and don’t put yourself or others at risk.
    • Take care when swimming in creeks, lakes, rivers and dams.
    • During and after heavy rain, creek conditions can change and become dangerous. Fast flowing, rapidly rising water—with strong currents—can occur. Stay safe—do not enter the water.
    • Be aware of potentially dangerous wildlife in and around water.
    • Use established tracks to access the water.

    At the beach

    • On the coast, swim at patrolled beaches between the red and yellow flags.
    • Be aware of potential hazards and heed all warning and safety signs.
    • Never turn your back on the ocean, especially around rock pools.
    • Be alert to vehicles driving along the beach.
    • Stay away from nesting seabirds. If disturbed, adult birds can abandon their nests leaving eggs and chicks vulnerable to heat, cold and predation.
    • Keep dogs on a leash and under control if you are permitted to bring a dog into the area.

    Snorkelling and diving

    • When snorkelling, practise in sheltered, shallow water and away from coral—always snorkel with a buddy.
    • Make sure your fins don’t damage coral and rest away from coral, on sandy patches.
    • Avoid touching or picking up coral, shells and other marine animals as they may inflict a painful, sometimes deadly, sting or bite.
    • Read more about responsible diving and snorkelling in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.

    Want to know more?

    Read stay safe and visit with care for important information about staying safe, caring for parks and essentials to bring when you visit Queensland’s national parks.