Beach safety

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To help ensure you have a fun day at the beach, it’s important to know the basics of beach safety in the water and on the sand. The most important rule to follow is: No flags = no swim

Top safety tips from Waverley lifeguards

  1. Swim between the red and yellow flags
  2. Look out for safety signs and read them before entering the water
  3. Stay hydrated and always slip, slop, slap
  4. Do not swim under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  5. If you need help, find a lifeguard or visit the lifeguard tower

How to spot a rip

Check out this video from Surf Life Saving Australia to understand what a rip is and how to spot them.

What to do if you get caught in a rip

  1. Stay calm
  2. Float on your back
  3. Raise your arm up
  4. Call for help
  5. Continue to stay calm and float until help arrives

If you’re an experienced swimmer, you can also try swimming parallel or sideways to the beach as this may bring you back to shore. If this doesn’t work, do not tire yourself out by swimming against the rip. Just float with the current and wait for help to arrive.

Do you know what these safety signs mean?

Please be sure to read any and all safety signs before entering the water. If English isn't your first language, you can find translated beach safety information available in 15 different languages here.

Swimming area. Swim between the red and yellow flags.

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Dangerous current. Do not swim.

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Danger! Beach closed - no swimming.

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Beware of shore break.

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Warning. Bluebottles (stinging jellyfish).

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No surfboard riding.

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Rock fishing

Rock fishing is a dangerous pastime. If you choose to rock fish, you run the risk of slipping on rocks or being swamped by waves and swept out to sea. Fishing spots can also be a long way from help and are often difficult for emergency services to access so if you choose to go out, you must be prepared and understand the risks.

No matter what your skill level is, always wear a lifejacket and:

  • Check weather conditions and updates before heading out
  • Wear non-slip footwear
  • Never fish alone and always tell others when and where you are going
  • Carry a mobile phone or Personal Locator Beacon (PLB) with you at all times

For more information on how to fish safely, check out Water Safety’s website and watch the video below.

Surfers' code

The beach is a shared space for everyone to you. If you are learning to surf, or are new to the area, follow these tips for staying safe in the surf:

  • Respect everyone in the line up and:
  • Don’t surf between the red and yellow flags
  • Don’t drop in
  • Paddle wide
  • Know your limitations and surf within your ability
  • Always hold on to your board

If you’re in doubt about the conditions or where to surf on the beach, always check with lifeguards on the day.

If you're interested in learning about surf rescue, we highly recommend Surf Rescue 24/7's free CPR and board rescue course which is freely available to all surfers and recreational water users in NSW.