Regardless of your location in New Zealand, a beach won’t be far away. The beach is an integral part of our Kiwi lifestyle, providing hours of recreation and fun, yet it can also be a dangerous place and every year lifeguards save thousands of people from drowning around our beaches. Learning about the beach environment and its associated risks can help ensure you, your family and friends enjoy the beach safely this summer. Getting to know the Water Safety Code is a great place to start, with four simple messages:

1. Be Prepared
Learn to swim and survive and set rules for safe play in the water. Always use safe and correct equipment. 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.

These safety tips apply to any body of water, not just the beach. For more beach-specific safety advice read the Beach Safety FAQs resource (right) and visit Surf Life Saving New Zealand. For more information about the Safety Codes visit

Auckland Council, Surf Life Saving Northern Region and WaterSafe Auckland have developed a brochure on West Coast beaches. This is available in English, Chinese Mandarin and Korean. For a copy of this brochure go to the Resources page (link on menu bar at left) to view and order.


The following can be downloaded from the resources panel to your right:

  • Beach Safety – Frequently Asked Questions
  • Auckland beachgoers swimming behaviours and perceptions of the risk of drowning’ – Injury Prevention Centre Fact Sheet #74

On line

Check out this story about what to do when you’re caught in a rip, courtesy SLSNZ and TV3 Firstline.

Visit Find A Beach to check out weather and conditions at your favourite beach, or look for a beach that is patrolled.