Stay safe on the river

24 December 2015

Mayor Henk van de Ven has added his voice to the river safety message, urging all residents and visitors to Albury to take care in open water.

Cr van de Ven says the Murray at Albury is one of the city's most beautiful assets, but it's also one of its most dangerous and people should be aware of hazards - many of which are hidden before they take to the water.

"Swimming and canoeing in the Murray River is a great pastime but the river environment has a number of risks," he said. "The current is very fast, the water is cold and there are submerged objects." 

Cr van de Ven said simple safety precautions can save a life. 

Advice to swimmers: 

  • Never swim alone. Always swim with someone or in a group and inform people before entering the water. 
  • Never swim in fast-flowing water. Check the speed first by throwing in a twig to see how fast it travels. 
  • If you are caught in a current, float on your back and travel downstream, feet first, to protect your head from impact with any objects. 
  • Beware of submerged objects. Trees, branches, rocks and discarded rubbish can be dangerous.
  • Be careful not to stand near the edge of overhanging river banks, which can crumble away.
  • Remember conditions can change rapidly.
  • If you are not a strong swimmer, consider using one of the public pools

Cr van de Ven urged people to follow the advice of experienced local paddler Tony Zerbst, who has spent close to 40 years paddling the Murray. Mr Zerbst's advice to anyone considering paddling or floating down the river is simple: 

  • Always wear a lifejacket. 
  • Take a mobile phone in a waterproof container.
  • Make sure that someone knows your plans. 
  • Before you set off, familiarise yourself with the course and the time it will take.
  • Watch our safety videos below: