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Non-English speaking participants

Many recreational dive and snorkelling participants do not speak English as their first language and may not understand the risks of the activities or the safety advice provided by the person conducting the business or undertaking (PCBU).

Some cultures may not appreciate aspects of water safety commonly known by most Australians and be at significant risk if not adequately equipped and supervised.

Generally using workers able to speak with the non-English speaking participants in their own language is the best way to allow two-way communication to occur. PCBUs who deal regularly with non-English speaking participants should try to ensure bilingual workers are available. Sometimes interpreters, such as bilingual tour guides, can assist.

Safety information for divers and snorkellers

Translated written or visual advice are other ways of providing information. Workplace Health and Safety Queensland has produced non-English publications with safety information for divers and snorkellers in 13 languages. This information covers safety instructions for certified divers and snorkelers; medical declarations for certified divers and snorkellers; and guidance on snorkelling and diving signals and flotation device options.

If there is reason to believe a diver or snorkeller has not fully understood the information provided, they should be given additional levels of supervision at all times while in the water. Resort or entry level certificate divers should be made to demonstrate the required skill and knowledge before participating and diving should not proceed unless their dive instructor is satisfied that the person can dive safely.


The film Snorkelling sense shows medical advice being given to snorkellers and has multilingual subtitles. This film can be incorporated into the safety briefing to help engage passengers and reinforce key snorkelling safety messages.

Further information

If you need help interpreting information on this website, call the Translating and Interpreting Service on 131 450.