At the Beach

South Australia has a lot of beaches and rivers to enjoy during your holidays. Here are some safety tips to make your swimming and sunbathing even more enjoyable:

  • Swim between the red and yellow flags at the beach. The red and yellow flags indicate the safest place to swim when lifeguards and lifesavers patrol beaches.

  • Always swim or surf at places patrolled by lifesavers or lifeguards.

  • Always swim under supervision.

  • Read and obey the signs.

  • If you are unsure of surf conditions, ask a lifeguard or lifesaver.

  • 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 in 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.

  • Use 30+ sunscreen and wear a shirt and hat. Remember to reapply sunscreen after swimming.

  • Learn how to spot a rip and keep clear of it. 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.

  • Keep the beach clean, put your rubbish in a bin and keep off the duned areas. They are there to preserve the beach environment.

The beach is one of Australia's most important and enjoyable features. Everyone will visit the beach at least once in their life and sometimes as often once a week or more. It is important that you know how to enjoy the beach safely and above all else, swim between the red and yellow flags.

The BeachSafe website is brought to you by Surf Life Saving Australia focussing on safety and awareness at and around our wonderful Beaches and adjacent foreshores.

We have developed this site to enable you to navigate easily to your desired destination, providing you with real-time information about the weather and surf conditions, potential hazards which you should be aware of and amenities and parking details for your visit.

Understanding the ocean is extremely important - the more you know about how waves, wind and tides affect conditions in the water, the better able you are to keep yourself safe, or even rescue others, from danger. Recognising danger signs and awareness of surf conditions is a means of prevention and an essential part of lifesaving.

If your search presents you with conditions that don't suit your needs (good surf, protection from the wind) then simply navigate to an adjacent beach to find conditions that maybe more suitable.

No matter where you live or your proposed destination you will find all the information you need to enjoy your time at your preferred beach location.

Enjoy your stay, have a BeachSafe Day.

Go to

Sun Safety

  • Apply sunscreen at least 15 minutes before going into the sun and reapply regularly, particularly after swimming; Use a broad spectrum sunscreen (minimum 30+).

  • Protect yourself at all times - Slip, Slop, Slap - (put on a shirt, put on some sunscreen and put on a hat).

  • Note: In Australia the sunlight is so strong that even when you are using a SPF high-rated sunscreen, you will still develop a tan.

Prevention of Dehydration

  • Where possible avoid strenuous exercise during hot weather.

  • In the 30 minutes before exercise in the heat, drink at least half a litre of water.

  • During normal activities maintain adequate fluid intake (non-alcohol, non-caffeine).

Beaches - Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Where is the safest place to swim at beaches?
A: Some beaches display red and yellow flags, which mark the safest part of the beach to swim. They also mark the area constantly under surveillance by lifesavers/lifeguards. Download the map of South Australia's patrolled beaches here.

Q: What are the conditions like?
A: If you have a question when at a patrolled beach, do not hesitate to ask the lifesaver/lifeguard. They are trained to help you.

Q: What is a rip?
A: A rip is seaward-moving water current. After waves have broken and run to the shore, the accumulated water then moves away from the shore through a pathway of least resistance - usually the deepest point. This moving pathway is called a rip. For more information go to

Q: Where do rips occur?
A: Rips occur along almost all stretches of beach and in and around rocks, breakwalls or any permanent fixture in the ocean. The larger the waves, the stronger and larger the rips. Most seaward-running rips normally end not far beyond the level of the breaking waves.

Q: What do I do if I get caught in a rip?
A: Side currents can cause people to be washed off safe swimming areas where waves break on sandbars. Staying calm is essential. Not swimming directly against the rip is important and strong swimmers only should swim at an angle across the rip.

At patrolled beaches it is best to request assistance by raising a straight arm and calling out for help. Floating and conserving energy is important until help arrives. Struggling against a rip is a quick way to exhaustion and a step closer to panic and tragedy.

Map of Patrolled Beaches

Some beaches display red and yellow flags, which mark the safest part of the beach to swim. They also mark the area constantly under surveillance by lifesavers/lifeguards. Download the map of South Australia's patrolled beaches here.

Top 10 safety tips: translated

You can read the above water safety tips in 18 other languages on the South Australian Surf Life Saving website,

Surf Life Saving South Australia

Read more on the South Australian Surf Life Saving website, which includes fact sheets and more safety tips.


Water Safety - Lifeguard Patrol