Be Safe

The beach is New Zealand's favourite playground, but it can also be a dangerous place. Learning about the risks and preparing yourself will mean you and your family can enjoy the sun, sea and sand safely this summer.
Water Safety Code
  1. Be prepared

    Learn to swim and survive and set rules for safe play in the water. Always use safe and correct equipment and know the weather and water conditions before you get in.

  2. Watch out for yourself and others

    Always pay close attention to children you are supervising in or near water. Swim with others and in areas where lifeguards are present.

  3. Be aware of the dangers

    Enter shallow and unknown water feet first and obey all safety signs and warning flags. Do not enter the water after drinking alcohol.

  4. Know your limits

    Challenge yourself within your physical limits and experience. Learn safe ways of rescuing others without putting yourself in danger


The beach can be a dangerous place - these are some hazards you should be aware of:

  • Boating area

    Boating Area

    Boats pose a hazard to swimmers and other surf users.

  • Large breaking waves

    Large breaking waves

    Always respect the power of waves and understand the different types.

  • Shallow water / Sub merged objects / Rocks

    Shallow water / Sub merged objects / Rocks

    Submerged objects/rocks could trap a swimmer, or cause injury to surf users, always enter shallow or unknown water feet first to prevent injury. Be aware of the surface under your feet and watch for hazards.

  • Strong rips/currents

    Strong rips/currents

    Rip currents are dangerous and can sweep a swimmer out to sea quickly. Learn to recognise rips so you can avoid them. Always swim between the flags as these will be placed in the safest area.

  • Strong winds

    Strong winds

    Get up to date marine weather forecasts and understand the conditions before you set off.

  • Sudden drop-off / Deep shelving beach

    Sudden drop-off / Deep shelving beach

    Watch out for holes and sudden changes in water depth. You could find yourself out of your depth without warning.

  • Unstable cliffs / Unstable dunes

    Unstable cliffs / Unstable dunes

    Beware of falling rocks and debris. Stay away from cliff edges and any area debris may fall. Dune surfaces can be unpredictable and unstable.

Patrolled beaches
  1. Always swim between the flags

    Patrolled beaches are the safest place to swim, because surf lifeguards will have identified the safest spot on the beach, and placed their flags to indicate where this is.

  2. What do I do if I get into trouble?

    Surf lifeguards on patrol will be on the lookout for people who need help. If you are in trouble, keep calm and raise your hand in the air.

  3. Take responsibility

    Surf lifeguards are your backup plan. If you’ve taken the time to follow the Water Safety Code chances are you won’t need rescuing. Make sure you’ve followed the simple rules so you are prepared.