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The Gold Coast

One of the most popular destinations in Australia offering a wealth of attractions, entertainment, facilities and services.

Gold Coast lifeguards

No Flags = No Swim
Surf Patrol

Keeping you safe in the surf is our long-standing commitment. Gold Coast City Council employs the largest professional lifeguard service in Australia, which is responsible for the surveillance of the region's 60 kilometre coastal strip.

Our lifeguards are innovative and progressive. They are recognised as world leaders in ocean safety, rescue and education. Over the years, they have been leaders in the development of rescue boards and wave runner jet skis. Gold Coast lifeguards also pioneered the surveillance tower strategy to protect swimmers along vast expanses of ocean beaches.

Gold Coast City Council's lifeguard service was the first in Australia to adopt a formal surveillance tower plan along the coastal strip in 1989. Now we operate 39 specially designed elevated surveillance towers, strategically placed and numbered to help keep you safe.

37 permanent lifeguards and 140 seasonal staff patrol 26 beaches year round, and 42 beaches during school holidays. The service operates 30 four wheel drive vehicles, 12 jet skis and 12 quad bikes.

Our advanced communications network links to:

  • beach vehicles
  • Careflight
  • lifeguard training
  • powercraft
  • Queensland Ambulance Service
  • RACQ
  • surf life saving
  • surveillance towers
  • water police
  • Westpac helicopter.

Lifeguard testing

Ongoing training for our lifeguards includes rigorous fitness assessments, testing of rescue techniques, advanced first aid training, resuscitation, spinal management and helicopter training to retrieve swimmers from the ocean. Lifeguards also complete a gruelling bi-annual fitness test comprising:

  • 750 metre ocean swim
  • 1600 metre beach run
  • 800 metre paddle on a rescue board.

Council pioneered this test to be completed on a natural ocean course utilising the headland at Greenmount Point and the Groyne at Coolangatta Beach. Lifeguards are required to swim from Greenmount to a buoy situated adjacent to the Coolangatta Groyne, run on the sand to Greenmount Point and back, and then finish with an ocean paddle on a rescue board from Coolangatta to Greenmount rounding turning buoys, before finishing at Greenmount Point.

The formal test was initiated by Council in 1978 as an addition to the pool time swim to ensure that lifeguards were competent in all disciplines relevant to their duties as an ocean lifeguard. The pool qualification for permanent lifeguards is the completion of an 800m swim in a 50m pool within 14 minutes.

Council undertakes testing for employment of casual lifeguards for the summer period in mid-November each year.

For more information on the prerequisites for becoming a Gold Coast City Council lifeguard, download the fact sheet located below in Related Information.

Contact us

For general enquiries, phone (07) 5581 6172 or email jobyrne@goldcoast.qld.gov.au.