Lake Burley Griffin offers many ways to enjoy the special places on or by the water. Sailing, fishing, kayaking, canoeing, and wind surfing are all great ways to get out and experience the Lake. While on the water, all users should follow some simple safety recommendations to help stay safe while keeping the Lake safe for other users at the same time.
It is important to be clearly visible while on the water. Suggested precautions are to:
The water temperature of Lake Burley Griffin can often be extremely cold in winter. Cold water is dangerous and exposed persons can develop hypothermia quickly. The effects of cold water mean that even healthy, good swimmers can drown after a short period of time in the water. The risk of hypothermia can be exacerbated by wind chill, even in the warmer months of the year. Ways to avoid hypothermia include:
With the increasing number of watercraft users, at times the Lake can be busy, with small watercraft and commercial vessels sharing the space.
An understanding of the following safety recommendations (applicable to all watercraft) will help everyone to enjoy the Lake in safety.
It is strongly recommended that you wear an approved life jacket at all times when enjoying Lake Burley Griffin.
Between sunset and sunrise a torch is a minimum requirement for small craft, but it is strongly recommended that the craft has a white light visible in every direction.
When fog, glare, smoke or darkness restrict your visibility adjust your speed accordingly.
Life buoy boxes are located in swimming areas, jetties and high-use areas. Watercraft operators are asked to take care not to damage these boxes.
Some simple things to remember:
More Australians drown in inland waterways (rivers, lakes, creeks, streams, etc) than in pools or beaches. Many drowning deaths which occur in inland waterways are preventable. In 2018/2019 there were 80 drowning deaths in these waterways (National Drowning Report 2019). Lake Burley Griffin is an inland waterway and people often experience difficulties due to the changing conditions, cold water temperatures and gusty winds. Even strong swimmers and competent craft users succumb to the effects of the elements.
Remember to exercise caution and watercraft safety when recreating on Lake Burley Griffin.