Everyone wants to go to the beach in Australia, and why wouldn’t you. We have beaches everywhere because we are an island, though in reality we are a continent, and apparently there is a difference. Most of our population mostly lives around the coastline and therefore are close to the beaches..
We are predominantly a beach culture because our beaches are amazing, the weather is amazing, and our lifestyle is amazing.
Now I have your attention
Australian beaches are beautiful, but …
However, within this amazing beauty lies danger. If you choose to ignore the knowledge that Australia has about its own beaches, it is really very foolish.Don’t underestimate the power of the ocean and listen, and actively swim between the bloody flags on Australian beaches.Click To Tweet Bloody being a normal word to use in Australia, and you can find out why here, Australia, a b***** foul-mouthed nation.
Our beaches can be dangerous. No, our spiders and our snakes don’t usually go for a surf, but our sharks do. Click To TweetWe also have rips. A rip is a kind of current that likes to take you to places that you might not want to go to. They can take you a long way away pretty quickly, and you could find yourself in Jaws territory or even worse. If you become too tired to swim or float anymore, or the waves are just too big and unpredictable, then it could be all over red rover. This is an Australian expression, which basically means you are dead. This is why you must swim between the flags – the RED and YELLOW flags.
Why the rant?
Australia is aware of these things. The beaches are hugely popular yet can be erratic. So, we have surf lifesavers. These men and women are here to protect and save lives – that is your life and mine. While most Australians learn to swim from a young age, there are many who cannot, and many of these are new people who have come to our shores. They are also our tourists who come here in droves, because Australia is a fascinating and exciting country. While many can swim, the sheer complexity of our beaches means that everyone, including us, who live next to the beach, need to swim between the bloody flags on Australian beaches to stay safe.
We live by the beach and walk along it a number of times a day and swim in it also. However, we see people swimming where they shouldn’t be. We see people swimming outside of the flags and putting themselves and the surf life savers at risk. NO, JUST DO NOT.
Australia’s long history of surf life saving
Australia has a long and proud history of surf life saving.
In 1902 it was against the law to go into the beach during daylight hours in Australia. People didn’t like this law and went swimming anyhow.
However many people were inexperienced swimmers and had problems with the unusual surf conditions like the rips, and drownings increased, and Australian’s have always had an issue with authority anyhow. The increased drownings gave rise to volunteers offering their services to protect people in the water and this continues to today.
This also gave rise to more people learning how to swim, and nearly every child in Australia is taught to swim from a very early age. It has also gave rise to what are called Nippers, our children who are learning surf safety and who will be our next volunteer surf life savers.
So you can see, we take the precarious nature of our seas very very seriously. So should you. When you come to see us, and we want you to, swim between the red and yellow flags.
What flags you ask?
Our beaches are patrolled by lifesavers who are skilled at recognizing which is the safest part of the beach for us all to swim in. They put up red and yellow flags to show you exactly where it is safe to swim. And this is the ONLY place that you should swim – between the bloody flags. The surf lifesavers are trained volunteers who will help you if you get into trouble. Yes, they will risk their own lives if you are too stupid to swim between the flags, but frankly, that is not fair. We also have paid surf lifesavers at our beaches; you have probably seen some quite handsome ones at Bondi Beach, and all of our surf lifesavers at all of our beaches, are highly trained and skilled at patrolling the beaches and helping people in trouble.
People who do not listen or tourists who do not understand signs, are also a factor.
It is simple….Swim between the bloody flags on Australian beaches
- If you understand, then do the right thing and swim between the bloody flags on Australian beaches.
- Colours are universal so if you see the following flags, swim between them.
Things that you need to do
- Learn to swim in both still water and beach water; they are different
- Only swim between the red and yellow flags at the beach
- Swim only at a patrolled beach
- Respect the ocean. The ocean environment is powerful, unpredictable, and home to hidden dangers.
- Learn the basics like raising your arm if you are difficulty
- Keep your first aid skills up, like CPR
- Listen to the LIFESAVERS
- Have fun
Other flags you may see at the beach:
A red flag indicates danger. Never enter the water when the red flag is flying.
Black and white chequered flags
If you see a black and white chequered flag, it means the area is safe for watercraft, like surfboards and kayaks. It is not safe to swim or use a body board in these areas.
The bottom line is – we do not want you to die when you come to visit us. The flags are here to protect you and me. Just swim between the bloody flags on Australian beaches, and you will be fine to enjoy everything that Australia has to offer.