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Beach flags and signs

When you visit a beach, you’ll see signs with important safety information. If it’s a lifeguarded beach, you’ll also see flags to show you where it’s safe to enter the water. Here you can find out what they mean.


  • Flag and signs at the beach
    When you visit a beach, most landowners provide safety signage with important information. This includes important safety information about hazards specific to the area. They generally use two types of warning symbols - hazard and prohibition signs.

Beach signs

  • hazard beach sign
    Hazard sign
    This yellow triangle is used to warn you of hazards or dangers in the area that may cause harm. The triangle will have different symbols inside it depending on what the hazard is.
  • Prohibition sign - red circle with a red diagonal line through it
    Red and white prohibition sign

    A prohibition sign is used to tell you that an activity is forbidden, for your safety. There may be different symbols inside it depending on what activity is forbidden – for example, swimming, surfing or fishing.

  • No lifeguards sign
    No lifeguards sign
    A lifeguard off duty sign means that there is currently no lifeguard service at this beach. You should exercise caution and follow all safety advice to protect you and your family.


If the beach you're at is not lifeguarded, please take extra care if you are going into the water. If lifeguards are on patrol, then you'll need to know your flags.

Beach flags

  • Lifeguard holding red and yellow flag at the beach showing casing lifeguards on duty
    Red and yellow beach flag

    Lifeguard-patrolled swimming and body boarding zone or lifeguard on duty.

    This shows the lifeguarded area and is the safest place to swim and bodyboard.

  • Black and white flag at the beach
    Black and white chequered beach flag

    Surfboard and other water craft zone or zone boundary.

    For surfboards, stand-up paddleboards, kayaks and other non-powered craft. Launch and recovery area for kitesurfers and windsurfers. Never swim or bodyboard here.

  • Red flag flying at the beach
    Red beach flag

    Dangerous conditions: do not enter the water.

    Signifies a severe hazard, that water conditions are unsafe for swimming and other water activities, and people should not enter the water.

  • Red windsock at the beach
    Orange windsock

    Danger: no inflatables to be used on the water.

    Indicates offshore or strong wind conditions. Never use inflatables when the windsock is flying.