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The Gold Coast

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

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Beach and water safety

Beach Conditions

Be safe in the surf

City of Gold Coast is proud to run Australia's largest professional lifeguard service, protecting our beach users and promoting surf safety throughout the year across the city.

The decisions you make will help you to stay safe in the surf:

  • Never swim alone or surf at beaches not patrolled by lifeguards or lifesavers.
  • Never swim outside the red and yellow flags that mark safe swimming areas.
    Beach patrol information: find beach patrol times under the 'Beach safety' subheading on the relevant beach location page; alternatively, you can download our summary beach patrol information sheet.
  • Never swim directly after a meal or under the influence of alcohol.
  • Never swim when the beach is closed, marked with 'Danger - Reserve closed to bathing' sign and a red flag. Beach closure information can be found on our Media Centre.
  • Never swim when there are no safety flags.
  • Never panic if caught in a current or undertow but raise one arm straight up and float until help arrives.
  • Never struggle if you get a cramp but raise one arm for help, float and keep the affected part of the body still.
  • Never go out far when a yellow flag is flying - it means the surf is dangerous.
  • Never swim if you're unsure of safe conditions and seek advice from the nearest lifeguard.
  • Never struggle against a rip or current but swim diagonally across it.

For more about our Lifeguard Service, see our Gold Coast lifeguards pages, or call us on 07 5581 6172.

To safely enjoy your beach experience, please download our Beach safety and information poster which includes translations into Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese and Japanese for our international visitors.

For the safety of swimmers, the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries has also implemented a shark control program along our Gold Coast beaches.

Flags and signage

The golden rule for swimmers is:

  • Always swim between the red and yellow flag on patrolled beaches.
  • Always read the flags and safety signs and understand what they mean before entering the water.
Red/Yellow Flag

Red and yellow flag (Safety)

Swim between the red and yellow flags.

Red Flag

Red flags (Danger)

Dangerous conditions.
Do not enter the water.

Surfboard Riding Only

Surfboard riding only

Yellow Flag

Yellow flags (Caution)

Swim with caution.

Swimming Prohibited


Swimming prohibited

Related information

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