Whether it’s surfing, swimming, fishing or just playing with friends, Australians love being around water. As a result, water safety is very important and forms a big part of school education and public service messaging.

Being a strong swimmer and safe around water is especially important for international visitors who are not accustomed to its dangers. For many, this is the first time they will experience the power of the ocean or the dangers of an inland waterway.

We have six reasons you should learn to swim, not only so that you can be safe as we head into the warmer months, but so that you can enjoy yourself confidently too.

It saves lives

In the two weeks following Christmas in late 2016, 14 people drowned in NSW alone. These tragic deaths occurred at beaches, pools and rivers and affected many different ages.

Water can be dangerous in many different places and accidents can occur when people are reckless or panic. It’s important to understand your surroundings and your own capabilities. This may sound simple enough, but water needs to be treated with proper respect or the consequences can be fatal.

Improves physical and mental health

Exercise helps reduce the risk of illnesses such as high blood pressure, heart and lung disease among many more. Your mental health is also improved by releasing endorphins and serotonin that enhance your mood.

It is also a great way to make new friends! Whether you join a club, take lessons, or just go by yourself, it’s easy to meet new people at your local swimming pool.

Makes studying more effective

Even if you consider yourself a strong swimmer, continuing swimming lessons has been shown to improve your study practices too. Periods of physical activity enhance brain stimulation and have beneficial effects upon studying, sleeping, mood and even eyesight.

It’s part of Aussie culture

It’s clear to see, in this population density map, that Australians never position themselves too far away from any body of water. Whether it’s rivers, lakes, oceans or pools, water based activities are entrenched in Australian culture and their way of life.

There is a typical Aussie saying that ‘you get out, what you put in’. In this regard, you’ll get more out of your time abroad the more effort you put in to joining the culture. Being confident around water, will enable you to participate in more activities through the summer.

It’s a skill for life

This goes without saying, but Australia is not the only country obsessed with being near the water. Once you learn to swim you will be able to enjoy yourself anywhere in the world and take part in the many other aquatic activities; sailing, kayaking, diving, water skiing and so forth.

It’s fun!

Trust us, Australians wouldn’t spend so much time in and around water if they didn’t absolutely love it! There is something truly special about floating at the beach when the sun is out. With confidence in your own abilities and respect for the environment you’re swimming in, we’re sure you’ll become addicted just like a true Aussie.

Where to start swimming

Now that you know why you should be swimming, where are you going to do it? The best place to start is your local swimming pool and luckily Australia has hundreds of them!

Your university campus may have a pool and offer swimming lessons (just speak to your student centre) or google your suburb and swimming lessons, there’s probably one closer to you than you realise. Have fun!