What Does Each Beach Flag Mean? 03/08/2016 – Posted in: Beach Safety

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What Does Each Beach Flag Mean?

The beach is an awesome place to go to in the summer and all year round, whatever the weather! If you are heading to the beach soon and are thinking about having a surf, swim or just a quick dip with your family, it is important to be aware of the beach flags before going in.

Usually, when you get to the beach you’ll see a large sign giving advice about that particular beach and important things to be aware of. Always read these signs as conditions can vary from beach to beach. These signs will sometimes give information about the beach flags but not always, so it’s good to know what these flags mean in advance of hitting the beach!

When lifeguards are on patrol, you will see the following flags:
Red and Yellow Beach Flag

Red and yellow flags

Red and yellow flags mean that Lifeguards are on patrol in this area, and it is the safest area for families and bathers. You should only swim, bodyboard and use inflatable crafts between these flags.
Black and White Chequered Beach Flag

Black and white chequered flags

The area between the black and white chequered flags is suitable for surfboards, stand-up paddle-boards, kayaks and other non-powered craft. Never swim or bodyboard in this area as it is easy to get hit by a passing board or craft.
Red Beach Flag

Red flags

Red flag equals Danger! Never go into the sea under any circumstances when the red flag is flying as this flag means that it is dangerous to bathe or swim. This may be to do with strong currents and conditions.
Orange Wind Sock

Orange Windsock

An orange windsock indicates offshore or strong wind conditions. Never use inflatables when a windsock is flying.
Other things to remember:

It’s also important to keep looking back towards the beach every so often to check that you are in between the flags designated for your activity – it’s easy to wander to the left or right when you’re having so much fun!

You must always respect the decisions of the RNLI lifeguards and the beach safety flags put up that day, and always listen to what they say – they’re the experts!

If you do not see any beach flags then it usually means that the beach is not lifeguarded, please take extra care if you are going into the water. We would not recommend going in when lifeguards are not on patrol.

For further information, click here to go to the RNLI website.