With 48 tragic deaths on our beaches last year, Northern Beaches Council has launched a campaign with some simple but effective ways to stay safe this summer when swimming. Make sure you tell your family and friends!

Summer in Sydney means one thing – beach weather. Before packing the kids and the car for some fun in the sun, it’s important to remind yourself of the golden rules of beach safety. Northern Beaches Council is sounding the alarm this summer, urging Sydneysiders to take their welfare seriously after 48* tragic deaths on NSW beaches and coastal waters last year.

To ensure a safe and happy seaside experience for all, the Council has launched a robust beach safety campaign, aimed at educating and raising awareness among beachgoers about the importance of safe practices and measures to prevent accidents. 

Northern Beaches Mayor Sue Heins says, “We’re so fortunate here on the Northern Beaches to share 24 incredible ocean beaches but locals and visitors need to be aware of the risks naturally occurring around our ocean and coastline.”

The safeguarding of our beaches – which had more than 10.8 million visitors in 2022 – rests upon the shoulders of dedicated professional lifeguards and volunteers. Their tireless efforts resulted in 1,427 rescues and 4,300 first-aid cases in 2022.

Moreover, 425,000 preventive actions were taken, mostly involving directing swimmers to swim between the flags, away from rips, and directing board riders to steer clear of the flags.

Lifeguard Top Tips

The most important rule to stay safe at the beach is: No flags = no swim. Lifeguards also want to remind beachgoers to: 

  • Swim between the flags at patrolled beaches
  • Take a moment to assess the water conditions
  • Read the safety signs for information about the beach and if you are unsure ask a lifesaver or lifeguard
  • Always swim with someone else so you can look out for each other
  • If you need help in the water, stay calm and attract attention by raising one arm 

The Number One Danger: RIPS

Rips are the number one contributor to coastal drowning accounting for 27%. Getting caught in one is not only a terrifying experience but can be fatal. You can spot a rip and potentially save your (or someone else’s) life by looking for these characteristics:

  • deeper, darker coloured water
  • fewer breaking waves
  • a rippled surface surrounded by smooth water

Instead, stick to the breaking waves and whitewash, and remember, if it’s green, it’s mean. 

Here’s What To Do If You Do Get Caught in a Rip:

  1. Float on your back, remain calm and don’t panic
  2. Raise your arm in the air and call for help
  3. Continue to tread water and float while you wait for help
  4. Finally, if you are a confident swimmer, swim with the rip out to sea to just behind the waves. Then swim left or right to catch a wave back to the sandbank and stand up.

Remember, a day at the beach is more than the shimmering sands and azure waves. It’s about enjoying the day responsibly and returning home safely with many happy memories.

You can read more tips on the Northern Beaches Council’s beach safety campaign on their website here – AND PLEASE SHARE WITH YOUR FAMILY AND FRIENDS.


*Drownings by Surf Life Saving Branch as detailed in the NSW Coastal Safety Report


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