Beach Safety

How can I get more information about beach and surf safety?

If you are on the beach and want more information, ask the nearest surf lifesaver or lifeguard. If you’re at home, school or work, please visit our Education and Resources section or visit

Where is my closest patrolled beach?

To find your nearest patrolled beach, visit . Please note that patrol times and locations vary from beach to beach. SLSQ strongly encourages all beachgoers to only swim at patrolled locations and between the red and yellow flags.

What do the other coloured flags on the beach mean?

RED & YELLOW: Always swim between the red & yellow flags
RED: No swimming
YELLOW: Caution required. Potential hazards
RED & WHITE: Evacuate the water
BLACK & WHITE: Surfcraft riding area boundary

Click the image below to enlarge and read about the beach flags.



Why should I swim between the red and yellow flags?

The flags mark the area patrolled by surf lifesavers and lifeguards. They mark the safest place to swim at the beach, because if the surf lifesavers or lifeguards can’t see you – they can’t save you. For more information on beach safety, visit our Beach Safety page here.

What is a rip?

If you’re swimming at the beach and find yourself being taken swept away from the shore, chances are you are caught in a rip current. A rip is a strong current running out to sea on a surf beach. It can easily take swimmers from shallow water to several hundred metres offshore within a matter of minutes.

What should I do if I am caught in a rip?

Good question! If you are caught in a rip remember to stay calm, raise your arm for help and wait to be rescued. Never try to swim against a rip but, if you feel able, you can swim parallel to the beach to escape the rip. The best advice is to avoid rip currents altogether by swimming between the red and yellow flags, observing all safety signs, and obeying instructions from surf lifesavers and lifeguards. For more information on rips, please visit

How should I treat a jellyfish sting?

It depends on where you are, and what kind of jellyfish has stung you. For all stings north of Agnes Water, we recommend treating the sting with vinegar for at least 30 seconds as a precaution in case it’s been caused by a venomous marine stinger. For all stings south of Agnes Water, hot water is best for at least 20 minutes, followed by a cold pack or ice for pain relief.

Always ask a surf lifesaver or lifeguard for help, if available, and phone triple zero (000) for emergency assistance and perform CPR if required.

Remember, prevention is better than cure! One of the best ways to prevent a marine sting is to only swim at patrolled marine stinger enclosures (in northern parts of Queensland) and between the red and yellow flags. There are also some basic precautions that swimmers can take to avoid the risk of a nasty sting. Wearing protective clothing such as Lycra body suits or wetsuits has proven to be effective and can also act as valuable sun protection.

Click here to view our marine stinger fact sheets: