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Lifeguards and surf safety

Our Chief Lifeguard has been keeping swimmers safe on our beaches since 1973. Learn more about Warren Young, his team, and how to stay safe on our beaches.

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Lifeguards and surf safety

Novel coronavirus (COVID-19) updates

Beaches and lifeguard services

Gold Coast beaches are open. We remind everyone to swim between the flags and heed lifeguard advice.

Please continue to follow current social distancing advice from the Queensland Government.

For the latest update on the City's response and changes to services, visit

Lifeguard leaning over on a jet ski Click to enlarge

Our lifeguards are legends, working hard to keep you safe year round. We employ the largest professional lifeguard service in Australia.

You’ll see their friendly faces on a beach or keeping a close eye on the water from one of our iconic yellow lifeguard towers.

Beach safety

Always swim between the red and yellow flag on patrolled beaches.

Understand what the flags and safety signs mean before entering the water. For beach safety information in other languages visit Surf Life Saving Queensland's online library of downloadable international language fact sheets.

Lifeguard flag

Red & yellow flag (Safety)

Swim between the red and yellow flags.

Reg lifeguard flag

Red flags (Danger)

Dangerous conditions. Do not enter the water.

Yellow lifeguard flag

Yellow flag (Caution)

Swim with caution.

City of Gold Coast signs

Click to enlarge

City of Gold Coast beach safety sign - No Swimming

No swimming

Dangerous conditions, no swimming allowed.

City of Gold Coast beach safety sign - Beach closed

Beach closed

Dangerous conditions, this beach is closed.

City of Gold Coast beach safety sign - Surfcraft prohibited

Surfcraft prohibited

No surfcraft, including surfboards, are allowed in this area (indicated by arrows).

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.
  • 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.

Beach Safety education program

Our lifeguard service facilitates a Beach Safety Education Program for local primary schools and English language students. For more information contact our lifeguards team on 07 5581 6740.

Patrolled beaches

Find beach patrol times and locations of our lifeguard patrol towers under the 'Swimming' subheading on the Gold Coast beach page you're interested in:

Alternatively, you can download our summary beach patrol information sheet.

Note: all beaches are patrolled during Queensland school holidays.

Beach closures

For beach closure information visit our Media Centre.

The stats

Lifeguard riding a jet ski Click to enlarge

Our lifeguards are innovative and progressive. They have been world leaders in the development of rescue boards and wave runner jet skis.

We were also the first lifeguard service in Australia to adopt a formal surveillance tower plan along the coastal strip in 1989.


On the Gold Coast we have:

  • 52 kilometres of beaches
  • 26 beaches patrolled year round
  • 42 beaches patrolled during school holidays
  • 39 specially designed surveillance towers
  • 37 permanent lifeguards
  • 140 seasonal staff
  • 30 four wheel drive vehicles
  • 12 jet skis
  • 12 quad bikes.

What does it take to be a lifeguard?

Lifeguard running towards the ocean Click to enlarge

Think you have what it takes to patrol our beaches? We pioneered a gruelling bi-annual fitness test to ensure all our lifeguards are in top shape to carry out their work duties. Taking place between Greenmount and Kirra, lifeguards complete a 750 metre ocean swim, 1600 metre beach run, and 800-metre paddle on a rescue board, all in less than 26 minutes.

Download our fact sheet for more information on the prerequisites for becoming a City lifeguard.

Shark control

For the safety of swimmers, the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries implements a shark control program along Gold Coast beaches patrolled by lifesavers or lifeguards.

Occasionally other marine life, such as whales, dolphins or turtles, gets caught in shark control equipment.

If you come across entangled sea life or damaged equipment call the 24 hour emergency hotline: 1800 806 891.

For more information visit the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries website.

Related information

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