Stay safe on the beach

A reminder to beach lovers to not be complacent in the surf this summer.

Surf Life Saving Queensland (SLSQ) is calling for families to swim between the flags these holidays ahead of their busiest season to date.

Last summer 1819 people were rescued while swimming outside of the red and yellow flags in Queensland and 11 people died due to beach-related drownings.

SLSQ Lifesaving Service Manager Peta Lawlor said a concerning part of its 2019/20 research data was that 89% of swimmers were rescued while swimming outside of the flags and 80% of those were Australians.

“It’s a big eye-opener for us and quite shocking to think that Australians are the ones taking the risk,” Miss Lawlor said.

“With everyone holidaying here this year and with interstate borders reopening just in time for Christmas, many families are organising a coastal holiday.

“We are already seeing it now with accommodation requests skyrocketing on the Gold Coast.

“It’s going to be extremely busy on the beach this Christmas, we want Queenslanders to make a really smart decision and only swim between the red and yellow flags.”

Miss Lawlor said last year’s statistics showed more than 27,000 people on Noosa Beach, 13,000 people on Mooloolaba Beach and 5000 people on Surfers Paradise on a single day in January.

“The numbers are pretty significant, so we are asking Australians to really think about what they are doing and make smart decisions,” she said.

Unfortunately, beachgoers were caught not swimming between the flags, drinking alcohol on the beach, swimming near rocks, not wearing sunscreen, fishing in dangerous areas and entering the water during unpatrolled times.

SLSQ patrols rescued 2555 swimmers in distress, performed 660,015 preventative actions and 48,688 first-aid treatments.

“We want people to have a really safe Christmas. The country and the world have been through such a massive change and we don’t want people to end their whole year in tragedy,” Miss Lawlor said.

To keep Queenslanders safe on the beach this summer SLSQ and Queensland Rugby League (QRL) launched a vital beach safety campaign – She’ll be right, won’t save your life.

The campaign is designed to change the relaxed and easygoing attitude Australians have towards the beach and remind them of the potential dangers.

SLSQ CEO Dave Whimpey said the organisation was excited to partner with former Queensland Maroons greats Wally Lewis, Kevin Walters, Gorden Tallis and Trevor Gillmeister to deliver lifesaving surf safety advice.

“Although we think we know the surf, we cannot afford to be complacent on our beaches as the ocean does not discriminate,” Mr Whimpey said.

“If volunteer surf lifesavers or lifeguards cannot see you, they cannot rescue you and that is why it is so important to only swim between the red and yellow flags.”


To ensure you enjoy your time at the beach, make sure you follow these top tips.

  • Always swim at patrolled beaches and only between the red and yellow flags.
  • Observe the safety signs.
  • If you are unsure about the conditions, ask a lifesaver or lifeguard before entering the water.
  • Swim with a friend where possible.
  • If you find yourself in trouble, put your hand up for help.
  • Always supervise young children in and around the water.