Beach safety

Flags and signs

Swim between the flags

It is important to swim between the red-and-yellow flags—this is the part of the beach patrolled by lifesavers, and has been assessed as the safest place to swim.

Other flags and signs

Flag or signMeaning
Red flagBeach is closed. Do not enter the water
Blue flagArea reserved for surfing
Yellow flagShows potential hazards in the water. Look out for a yellow warning sign next to the flag showing what you need to be careful of in the water
Red-and-white quarteredEmergency evacuation. Leave the water immediately
Yellow-and-black diamond-shaped signsWarning sign. Shows hazards at that beach
Red-and-white circular signs with a diagonal line through the imageRegulatory sign. Shows prohibited activities at that beach
Blue-and-white square signsInformation sign. Provides information about features at that beach
Green-and-white square safety signsShows a safety provision nearby (e.g. phone, first aid) or provides safety advice.


A rip is a strong current that starts near the shore and runs away from the beach. It may feel like you are being pulled out to sea and unable to get back to the beach.

Not all rip currents flow directly out to sea. Some may run parallel to the beach before heading out to sea.

What do rips look like?

Not all rips look the same. However, rips will have one or more of

the following features:

  • darker, deeper water
  • murky brown water caused by sand stirred up by fast-moving water
  • a choppy or rippled look, when the water around is generally calm
  • in large surf, a smoother surface with much smaller waves
  • an area where waves aren't breaking (compared to surf at other parts of the beach)
  • foam or debris floating out to sea.

If you are caught in a rip

  • Stay calm.
  • Don't try to swim against the current
    • If you are a confident swimmer, swim parallel to the beach until you are out of the rip and can catch a wave back to the shore.
  • If at anytime you feel you won’t be able to reach the beach, raise your arm and call for help while floating to conserve your energy.

Sun safety

Queensland has the highest rate of skin cancer in the world. The sun also can also cause heat-related illnesses. Learn how to prevent skin cancer and heat-related illnesses.

More information

Read more about beach safety on the Surf Life Saving Queensland website.