Water safety education in Australia (including learn-to-swim) is primarily taught at the primary school level. There is increasing concern that water safety education is decreasing. This study aimed to gain a greater understanding of the barriers to providing water safety education in Australia. We surveyed a random sample of primary schools stratified by location, region and school type. This qualitative survey collected information on activities, qualifications, safety issues and measures, and demographics. The four key issues that impact on the provision and safety of school based water safety education were access to qualified staff, facility access, use of alternative aquatic environments, and the need for a best practice risk management approach. Improving the provision of targeted water safety information and increasing the number of people with aquatic qualifications both have the potential to increase the provision and safety of aquatic activity.