When I think of Australian beaches, three things come to mind: sun, surf and lifesavers. The volunteers who patrol our beaches every year belong to Surf Life Saving Australia, which has been protecting bathers since 1907.
The most recognisable symbol of Surf Life Saving is the red and yellow flag. The flags indicate which part of the beach is patrolled, and it changes daily depending on conditions. The black and white chequered flags spaced on either side mean no surfers or jet skies are permitted within the swimming area.
It’s not compulsory to swim on patrolled beaches but it’s wise to, especially if the surf is rough or you’re not a strong swimmer. Help is not far away if you get into difficulties.