Beach safety tips

Be safe at the beach!

Keep safe by following these tips:

  • Never swim alone.
  • Read and obey the signs.
  • Don’t swim directly after a meal.
  • Don’t swim under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  • Always check the depth of the water.
  • Never run or dive into the water. Even if you have checked the depth, water conditions can change.
  • If you get into trouble in the water, stay calm. Signal for help, by holding up one arm and waving, float and wait for assistance.
  • Be sun smart: slip, slop,  slap, seek, slide. Slip on a shirt, slop on 30+ sunscreen, slap on a brimmed hat, seek shade, slide on sunglasses. Remember to reapply sunscreen every 2 hours or after swimming.
  • Learn how to spot a rip and keep clear of it.
  • Keep the beach clean, put your rubbish in a bin. Leave nothing but footprints.
  • Keep out of dunes and fenced areas. They are there to preserve the beach environment.
  • Always swim at beaches with patrolling lifesavers or lifeguards. The Beachsafe App can find your closest patrolled beach.

Download the Beachsafe App for iOS and Android.

Be safe at patrolled beaches

The safest beaches are those patrolled by surf lifesavers or lifeguards. They are trained in beach and water safety, and have equipment handy to help you if you get in trouble.

  • Swim between the red and yellow flags – this is the area that surf lifesavers are watching and can respond to quicker than other areas.
  • If caught in a rip, or if you get in to any trouble in the water, do not panic. Float and raise one arm for help.
  • Look for the patrol shelters – this is where surf lifesavers will be set up and patrolling the beach from
  • All South Australian surf lifesavers wear a distinctive red and yellow uniform, making them even easier to spot.

Safety at non patrolled beaches

South Australia has many beautiful beaches – especially regionally – and lifesavers cannot be everywhere at all times! Even at beaches with a surf lifesaving club, patrols do not operate 24/7. If you find yourself at a beach without any patrols, these tips will help keep you safe.

Don’t dash into the water straight away when you arrive. Take five minutes when to scope out the local conditions and familiarise yourself with any safety signs.

  • Know your own limits as a beach user, be it swimming, surfing, or anything else.
  • Learn how to identify rip currents, in-shore holes and other danger areas. A rip can be recognised by sand coloured or rippled water running out to sea when the water on either side is generally cleaner. The waves may also be larger and breaking further out to sea on both sides of the rip.
  • Make sure you swim with others supervising who are capable of assisting you if you get into difficulty.
  • Ensure someone in your group has CPR or First Aid training.
  • Know how to call emergency services for help – if you are at a remote beach, do you have mobile service?
  • Seek the advice of locals, surfers and others in remote or unfamiliar locations – in many instances they will be able to advise you of any concerns.
  • Check for any signs or warnings.
  • Check any local news, bulletin boards or social media for warnings.
  • If in doubt, stay out.