Sun and surf

Sun safety

Even spending a short time in the sun can cause irreversible damage to your skin and you'll have to wear it for the rest of your life. This damage can cause your skin to wrinkle and sag earlier and the more sun you get, the higher your risk of skin cancer.

Here are some hot tips:

  • Slip on clothes that will protect you from the UV rays.
  • Slop on sunscreen (SPF50+) 20 minutes before you go out into the sun. Reapply every two hours.
  • Slap on a broad-brimmed hat that protects your face, neck and ears from being burnt.
  • Seek shade — trees, sails, whatever.
  • Slide on a pair of wrap-around sunnies.

For more information, visit the Queensland Government’s sun safety website.

Surf safety

Alcohol is a factor in 1 in 5 drownings. It's important that you only go in to the water when sober and make sure you always swim between the red and yellow flags.

Red and yellow flags aren’t the only ones you may see while at Schoolies.

A yellow flag indicates potentially dangerous conditions so be cautious.

A red and white chequered flag means a shark or crocodile has been sighted. Get out of the water fast!
A red flag means the beach is closed for swimming. A blue flag shows board-riding areas for surfers.

Swimming at night, whether it is at the beach or in a swimming pool, can be dangerous. If you get into trouble, lifeguards are not on duty at that time and help may not arrive until it is too late. Stick to daytime swimming.


When you are in the water and want to return to the beach, compare your distance from the beach with a landmark onshore. If you have been swimming for a while but not getting any closer to the landmark, chances are you are in a rip.

If you're caught in a rip, obey the 'Three Rs'.

  1. Relax: Stay calm and float, don't swim against the current, swim across it.
  2. Raise: Raise an arm to signal for help.
  3. Rescue: Float and wait for assistance. Do not panic.  A lifeguard will be out as soon as possible.

For more information about beach safety visit Surf Life Saving Queensland.


You must have a marine licence to operate a boat or drive a jet ski.

Just as you should not drink and drive a car, you should not drink and operate a boat.  0.05 per cent blood alcohol concentration also applies on the water (less for provisional drivers). Just like driving while under the influence of alcohol and drugs, boating while intoxicated can be dangerous. Make sure you’re sober before you enter the water.

For all boating and jet ski rules, visit Maritime Safety Queensland.