Do you know what different beach flag colours mean?!

Posted date: 03-September-2019

At ASI, beach safety is utmost important, being able to read and be aware of beach signs /flags will help keep you safe and have an enjoyable beach experience.


What do beach flags tell us?  they inform users about local sea conditions, lifeguard services and potential safety risks.

Flags are not only important to people unfamiliar with the beach but also to regular beach users in relation to current and changing conditions.


Beach flags come in all different colours and each colour has a message.


The International Life Savings Federation ILS has come up with the following flag colours and their message, which has been adopted by most countries in the world.


The most important flag to look out for is the Red -High Hazard / Water closed to public use as this means.   - Do not enter the water.


Flag colours and the meanings:


Black/White (quartered) - Watercraft area

Red/Yellow (halved) - Recommended swimming area with lifeguard supervision

Red - High hazard

Red over Red - Water closed to public use

Green - Low Hazard

Yellow - Medium hazard

Purple - Marine pests present

Yellow flag with central black ball - Watercraft use prohibited (e.g. no surfboards)

Orange cone shaped windsock - Offshore winds present, inflatables should not be used


Flags are usually controlled by local Authorities/Lifeguards who are have vital local knowledge of Hazards, rips, swell conditions etc…


When you go to the beach and are unsure of the current conditions / flag colours seek advice from the lifeguards on the beach. If there are no flags at a beach, be extra aware of the conditions.   Best to only swim at locations that are patrolled.


You can Learn about beach flags and more when you do surfing lessons at ASI accredited schools


Learn with the best, find an ASI school at





About ASI


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We set the standards for education, accreditation, professional development and ongoing support for our members, offering pathways from entry level to elite level.

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