​Lifesaver Brad

Off-duty lifesaver Brad hates to think what could’ve happened.

Calm surf isn’t always safe surf.

Above: Lifesaver Brad

It isn’t just tourists or people with poor swimming ability that are at risk of drowning on NSW beaches. Rips can be difficult to spot and can change shape and location without notice, creating a real drowning risk for even the most confident swimmers. Don’t risk your life, always swim in between the flags at patrolled beaches.

Off-duty lifesaver Brad shares his story about rescuing swimmers that weren’t aware of the risks.

“The kids had gone into the water and walked straight into a rip. For people that don’t know what they’re looking for, it simply looks like a calm patch of water, but it actually got them into a lot of trouble”. 

Make sure you only swim in between the flags at patrolled beaches. 


Rip currents are strong currents of water flowing away from shore through the surf zone. 

Rips are complex and can be difficult to spot. They are the number one hazard on Australian beaches.

The best way to avoid a rip is to swim at a patrolled beach between the red and yellow flags.

Water safety experts provide advice on exactly what a rip is, how a rip behaves, how to recognise a rip and what to do if you are caught in a rip.

For information on surf safety and rips visit these sites:

Swim between the flags

Only swim between the red and yellow flags at the beach

The red and yellow flags indicate the safest place to swim when lifeguards and lifesavers patrol beaches.

  • Always swim at patrolled beaches
  • Swim between the red and yellow flags. They mark the safer area for swimming
  • Never swim, surf or fish alone
  • Read and obey the signs
  • Be aware of rip currents (know how to spot one and how to escape from one)
  • Don't swim under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Never run or dive in the water, even if you have checked before as water conditions can change
  • If in doubt stay out
  • Seek advice from the lifesavers and lifeguards