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Surf and Water Safety
Popular beaches are patrolled by volunteer Surf Life Saving Association members identified by their red and yellow caps. Enjoy your holiday and minimise risks by observing simple safety.
- Always swim or surf at places patrolled by surf lifesavers or lifeguards.
- Swim between the red and yellow flags. They mark the safest area to swim.
- Always swim under supervision or with a friend.
- Read and obey signs.
- Don't swim directly after a meal.
- If you are unsure of surf conditions, ask a lifesaver or lifeguard.
- Never run and dive in the water. Even if you have checked before, conditions can change.
- If you get into trouble in the water, don't panic. Raise your arm for help, float and wait for assistance.
- If caught in a rip, float with the current or undertow. Stay calm. Don't try to swim against it. Signal for help and wait for assistance. Areas of discoloured (brown) water usually signal a rip.
From late October to early May, venomous box jelly fish, also called stingers or sea wasps, occur in the coastal waters of northern Australia. The jellyfish does not exist in the waters surrounding most of the islands of Queensland and are rarely found on the Outer Barrier Reef, allowing visitors to enjoy the Great Barrier Reef year round. In the Northern Territory the stingers are present at all beaches, while in Western Australia they affect the Kimberley coastline. Those beaches affected by stingers have warning signs for visitors. During this time, visitors are advised to swim in the ocean only, where protective enclosures are provided.
When swimming inland, check water depth and note the presence of other hazards before diving in. If caught in a fast flowing river, try to float feet first. Avoid swimming in boating areas.