Water Safety & Monitoring

In Australia we love our waterways. However, we also know that there are certain dangers that go with swimming in these areas. Ultimately we want everyone to enjoy our waterways but to go home safe at the end of the day. 

If you're planning a day out at one of waterways, please take note of the following safety considerations. 

Swimming Safety

The Shire is fortunate to have many different places to go swimming including our numerous beautiful beaches, Moore River and other freshwater bodies and our very popular public pool, the Gingin Aquatic Centre

It should be noted by visitors to our Shire and all residents however, that whilst we want you to enjoy our water ways, above all else we want you to enjoy them safely. Each water body carries different risks and swimmers unfamiliar with the area can end up in significant danger resulting in injury or drowning. 

Royal Lifesaving Australia provides extensive advice about how to practice safe swimming in all different types of bodies of water. Visit their website for more information.

There are some basic swimming rules that everyone should follow any time you visit a water body including:


  • Always actively supervise children within arms’ reach.
  • Read any safety signs upon arrival (i.e. note BEN signs at the beach, water safety advice signs and life saving devices at Moore River, etc.). 
  • Always swim with another person – never swim alone.
  • Do not enter rough waters if you are not a strong swimmer. 
  • Beware of digging deep sand holes at the beach – the sides can become unstable and collapse.
  • Protect yourself from the sun and stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water.

Inland Water Ways

  • Always check conditions before entering.
  • Enter the water slowly and feet first. Do not dive as you don't know what could be beneath the surface. 
  • Care should be taken around crumbling riverbeds and slippery dam edges.
  • Be aware that there may be underwater obstacles such as rocks, branches and rubbish. Avoid if possible.
  • Care should be taken when walking on unstable, uneven and slippery riverbeds.
  • Avoid crossing flooded inland waterways.
  • Protect yourself from the sun and stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water.

Beach Emergencies & Shark Safety

Beach Emergency Number (BEN) Signs

The State government has developed a multiagency/multi-faceted shark hazard mitigation strategy known as Beach Emergency Number (BEN) Signs. The acronym BEN is in honour of local surfer, Ben Gerring, who died from a shark attack in 2016 off the coast of Gearies Beach in Falcon. During this incident there was a delay in paramedics being able to locate Ben's position on the beach given the length of the beach and many entry points. Consequently, this incident has led to the the BEN Signs program which is now being rolled out from Geraldton through to Eucla along WA's coastline. 

BEN signs are in the process of being installed at approximately 65 locations along the Shire’s coastline ranging from Narrow Neck to the north of Lancelin and Flat Rock Look Out to the south of Wilbinga in addition to other frequent emergency reported areas of the Shire.

The purpose of the BEN signs is to aim to improve emergency response times by providing accurate location information. The information on these signs can be quoted to emergency services in the event of an emergency. 

When visiting the beach community members should take note of the closest BEN sign location and information. In the event of an emergency, dial triple zero and quote the unique code and other sign specific information. Where possible someone should wait at the BEN sign until emergency service crews arrive.

All BEN signs installed under the State government’s program are reversible with a uniform red and green sign on the front and a beach closure sign on the back held in a lockable frame. Each BEN sign has a unique code based on an area prefix followed by a one to four digit number. The official location name (if there is one), the address, suburb and nearest intersection are also on each sign. 

Reporting Shark Sightings & Wild Life Injuries

BEN signs may also be referred to when reporting shark sightings to Water Police on 9442 8600. This will help beach managers implement beach closures earlier with accurate location information. One of the many uses BEN signs are being put to is also to report and locate injured wildlife such as beached or entangled whales and other marine life. 

SharkSmart WA App

As part of installing the BEN signs, a new SharkSmart WA app has been developed. It combines shark activity information, beach safety features such as Surf Life Saving WA patrolled beaches and weather forecast, to help you plan your trip to the beach.

The app will help you switch on your 'Sea Sense' by providing near real-time information of shark activity including current alerts and warnings. Select your favourite coastal locations and use notifications to receive relevant updates as they happen.

The SharkSmart WA app can be downloaded from the App Store and Google Play.

Further information about BEN signs and the SharkSmart WA app is available on the Shark Smart website - sharksmart.com.au

Water Monitoring

The Shire of Gingin conducts a number of sampling programs to protect the health of residents and tourists. These programs include:

  • Food premises not connected to scheme water
  • Sampling of public potable water supplies (where not under the jurisdiction of the Water Corporation)
  • Sampling of public swimming pools for amoeba and bacterial compliance
  • Private/other water sampling undertaken at cost to the applicant

If you collect rainwater for drinking purposes please refer to the Department of Health's brochure below for ideas on how to keep your water safe to drink:

Country Rainwater Collection Infosheet - Department of Health

Fresh Water Risks

Please be aware of some of the risks associated with swimming in fresh water within our Shire. Naegleria Fowleri is one of the identified organisms and detailed information is provided below regarding the dangers associated with exposure to it.  Locations that have been identified with this risk have signs highlighting the danger and what actions to take to best avoid infection, an example of which is below. 

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Recreational Water Testing Program 

Community Health Alert – Recreating in Moore River during summer (December to March)

Residents and visitors to Moore River are reminded to be aware of the potential health risks of natural waters.

Natural waterways like Moore River can contain many forms of bacteria, algae and amoeba. Swimming and/or swallowing water contaminated with high levels of microbiological contamination can put you at risk of illness such as gastroenteritis, skin irritations, or respiratory, ear and eye infections. Bacteria, algae and amoeba can occur from a number of sources including farming activities, domestic animals and wildlife.

The Shire of Gingin Environmental Health Service regularly tests the Moore River in Guilderton as part of the State Health Department’s Recreational Water Sampling Program.

Thermophilic Naegleria

Thermophilic Naegleria refers to a group of microorganisms called amoebae and are tolerant to 42°C. Naegleria fowleri is an organism within this group that causes the particularly dangerous waterborne disease known as amoebic meningoencephalitis.

Thermophilic Naegleria has been identified in river water samples obtained from the Moore River in previous years. The Shire advises bathers who frequent or visit this area for recreational swimming that precautions should be taken to avoid this organism.

Please note that Naegleria fowleri has not been identified in any recreational water bodies within the Shire of Gingin to date. However Thermophilic Naegleria does get detected and is considered to be the pre-cursor to possible Naegleria fowleri.

Warning for Recreational Swimmers in Moore River

All users of Moore River are urged to take precautions to ensure they are not exposed to potentially fatal amoebic meningitis from Naegleria fowleri.

Naegleria fowleri is found in unchlorinated warm fresh water and soil. Any water supply that seasonally exceeds 30°C or continually exceeds 25°C may be a risk. This includes lakes, rivers, dams, bores, tanks, pipelines, natural hot waters/springs as well as spas and swimming pools that are poorly maintained, under-chlorinated or unchlorinated. Naegleria cannot survive in water that is clean, cool and adequately chlorinated.

How do you get infected?

A very rare but often fatal waterborne disease (amoebic meningitis or meningoencephalitis) can occur if contaminated water goes up into the nose.

This may occur when people swim, dive or fall into warm unchlorinated water containing Naegleria, or when children play under sprinklers or with hoses using this water, or when infected water is inhaled to cleanse the nasal passages.

Children and young adults appear to be more susceptible to infections than adults. Infections usually occur when it is hot for prolonged periods of time, which result in higher water temperatures. You cannot get infected by swallowing water containing Naegleria.

How do I protect myself and my family?

When using, recreating and/or swimming in warm fresh water bodies such as the Moore River and/or thermal pools, reduce the risks to your health by following these simple rules:

  • Look for posted warning signs and follow the advice on them.
  • Do not jump or dive into the water (or force any water into the nose).
  • Do not swim in water that looks murky or smells unpleasant.
  • Avoid swallowing water or putting your head under water.
  • Avoid swimming if you have an open wound or infection.                                              

If you wish to access any more information on disease and recreational waters, please go to the Department of Health’s website

Alternatively, please contact the Shire’s Environmental Health Services (see below). This information is provided for the safety and wellbeing of you and your families.


For further information please contact the Shire's Health Department by emailing mail@gingin.wa.gov.au or calling (08) 9575 5100