Victorian drowning reports continue to show a worrying trend for men aged 25–64 years being overrepresented in the number of drowning fatalities.

When it comes men aged 45 plus years, they generally do not put their health and safety first. Research also shows middle-aged Victorian men, usually with decades of experience in, on and around the water, tend to not believe drowning is a risk worth worrying about.

The Know Your Limits campaign reminds people to be aware of their current swimming ability, and to avoid risky situations when in or around water. It also reminds them that, while they’re probably used to looking out for friends and family, it is also vital they’re looking out for their own safety around water.

This year’s new Rethink campaign has been developed to reach men aged 25–44 years (particularly from multicultural backgrounds) with relevant and important messages about water safety.

Men in this younger demographic tend to have more bravado when it comes to water safety — they THINK they are invincible and that precautions don’t pertain to them. The campaign asks them to RETHINK and to THINK about the simple actions they can take to make sure their day is just as enjoyable, but safe.

Drowning statistics show a wide variety of situations and activities can result in drowning —  there is no single dominant dangerous activity. These activities further vary for different multicultural communities.

The Rethink campaign aims to resonate with its water-going audiences – be they out for a day’s fun swimming, fishing, rock fishing, or snorkelling — with a variety of messaging specific to their activity and location.

So that no matter where they are, and what they are doing, they will be asked to ‘Rethink taking risks around water’ to continue to have a safe and enjoyable time around Victoria’s waters.


Rethink campaign - drink and swim - Chinese

Important water safety messages to remember:

  • Be aware and prepared for conditions
  • Read safety signs to understand dangers
  • Swim between the red and yellow flags wherever possible
  • Never swim alone
  • Postpone alcohol until after your aquatic activity
  • Alcohol affects your swimming ability and judgement of dangerous situations
  • Always wear a lifejacket when boating or rock fishing, it buys you time to survive
  • Ensure you have the appropriate skills for your activity before going out on the water.

Important water safety resources:


Transcript - Know Your Limits TVC

Video transcript: Know Your Limits - TVC

Length: 0:30 seconds

Transcript begins

SFX:       Of a panicked man struggling to stay afloat in water.

VO:         Men over the age of 45 are at the highest risk of drowning in Victoria.

SFX:       More intense struggle as the man dips below the water, and struggles to resurface. Desperate gasping for air.

VO:         Which is why, when it comes to being safe around water, the people you’re looking out for…

SFX:       Of going underwater; the struggling stops. There is silence.

VO:         should include you.

SFX:       Calmly lapping water

VO:         Don’t just look out for others.

                Know the conditions. Know your limits.

VO:        Authorised by the Victorian Government, Melbourne.

Transcript ends

Water safety messages for men in six languages