Watercraft activity is using an item of non-powered recreational aquatic equipment in the water. Examples include surfboards, body boards, kayaks, surf skis, stand up paddleboards, wind surfers and kite surfers. Approximately 1.5 million of the Australian adult population participate in surfing and 1.1 million participate in other watercraft activities.

Several programs have been run by Surf Life Saving (SLS) and other water safety partners in recent years to address the prevalence of watercraft and surfing incidents. For example, Paddle Safe, an education campaign in Tasmania, promotes safe paddling for aquatic users, supervisors, teachers and the general community. In Queensland, there has been a program for surfers to learn resuscitation and essential lifesaving skills; Surfers Saving Lives aims to reduce drowning deaths in blackspot locations and increase safety across the surfing community. Furthermore, Surf Life Saving Australia has partnered with the UNSW Sydney to research rescues performed bystanders, where 28% of surfers say they have performed a rescue while participating in the activity.

Minimising Your Risks

Before you take out your watercraft it’s important that you STOP. LOOK. PLAN




What to Do in an Emergency


Watercraft Factsheet

Factsheet Booklet


Coastal Safety Brief: Surfing & Watercraft