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Better English Vocabulary: Beach Safety in Australia

Updated: Feb 21

large sign at beach warning of dangers with blue sky and sea in background
Beach Safety Sign


Everyone loves the beach right?

It's a great place to relax and have fun either on the sand or in the water.

But there can be dangers too, especially in Australia!

In this article, I will give you a list of useful vocabulary to understand the beach and its dangers.

I'll also give you a selection of other useful words and phrases.

Beach Signs

Many beaches in Australia have signs to warn swimmers of potential dangers. They often are in a variety of languages.

But not every beach has these signs.

So, preparing yourself by learning this vocabulary is important. It might save your life!

This is why I am teaching you these words and phrases, not just to develop your vocabulary. I want you to be safe at the beach.

Here is the list, in alphabetical order, with short explanations.

If there are words that you are not familiar with, I urge you to check a dictionary.

So, let's go to the beach to get a better English vocabulary

Alcohol Limits: do not drink too much. Don't swim if you have been drinking alcohol.

Beach Wheelchair: For disabled people's accessibility to the beach.

Beach Bag: Used to carry essential items for a day at the beach.

Beach Cricket/Beach Volleyball: games played on the sand of the beach.

Beach Patrol: People responsible for safety and rule enforcement at the beach.

Beach Umbrella: A device that shields people on the beach from the sun.

Boat Safety: Use life jackets when boating.

Bodyboard: A shorter version of a surfboard.

Bodysurfing: riding a wave without a surfboard.

Boogie Board: A small, buoyant board for riding waves. Another name for a bodyboard.

'Danger: Crocodiles': A sign warning of crocodiles in the area.

Erosion: Stay away from areas where waves have cut into the sandy cliffs.

Fireworks Ban: Obey firework restrictions.

First Aid Kit: A collection of bandages, bandaids, etc. for minor injuries.

Fishing Zone: People fishing have to avoid swimmers and surfers.

Flags: Colored flags on poles show where the safe swimming areas are. ('Swim Between The Flags')

Flotation Device: A life jacket or buoy.

Goggles: Worn to protect your eyes while swimming.

Inflatable Raft: a flotation device for calm water use.

Jet ski: a motorised motorbike designed for use in the water. Jet skis are often required to operate in a designated area away from swimmers and surfers.

Jellyfish Warning: Jellyfish can give a painful sting. Some (Irukandji/sea wasp) can be fatal. They are usually found in tropical waters. A warning sign is often posted at beaches if they are likely to be there.

Kiteboarding/Kitesurfing: A sport that uses a large kite and wind to pull a rider across the water and waves.

Lifesaver Ring/Life Preserver: Emergency flotation device shaped like a doughnut.

Lifesaver Tower: Lifesavers sit in them to watch swimmers from a high position. They then alert swimmers of dangers. An alarm sounding can mean a shark is nearby.

Marine Animals: People should observe marine creatures from a distance.

'No Alcohol' sign: No drinking on the beach.

'No Camping' sign: Camp in designated areas.

'No Dogs' sign: Follow pet rules.

'No Drones' sign: Operators of drones need to observe restrictions.

'No Glass' sign: glass containers are not allowed on the beach.

'No Littering' sign: Keep the beach clean by placing rubbish in bins provided.

'No Open Fires' sign: These are fire safety rules.

PFD (Personal Flotation Device): A life jacket.

Picnic Area: a place to enjoy meals away from the sand.

Reef Shoes: Protect feet from sharp objects while walking on the sharp coral reefs.

Rip Awareness: Learn how to identify rips. If taken out to sea in a rip, do not panic or struggle. Let the current take you back further down the beach. (See the picture above).

Rip Current: A strong, narrow current flowing seaward from the shore.

Rip Current Sign: Identifies potential hazards. Not every beach will have such a sign, so it's useful to be able to look at the water to see the rip.

Sandcastle: A fun beach activity for children as they make castles from sand.

Sand Dune Warning: Stay on designated paths. ('Keep Off The Dunes' sign)

Safe Depth Marker: A sign indicating safe swimming depth.

Seagull Caution: Avoid feeding seagulls. ('Do Not Feed The Seagulls' sign)

Shark Alarm: When lifesavers see a shark coming close to swimmers, a shark alarm rings out. Lifesavers urge swimmers to get out of the water. If a death unfortunately occurs, they post a sign: 'Beach Closed'.

Shark Net: A barrier to deter sharks.

Stinger: Another name for a jellyfish, sometimes very dangerous.

Sunhat: A wide-brimmed hat to shield from the sun.

Sunscreen: A lotion to put on your skin to protect against UV rays.

Surfboard: often made of fibreglass for riding the waves.

Surfboard Leash (also known as a leg rope): Keeps the surfboard close when you fall off.

Sunburn: Skin damage from excessive sun exposure. "Slip, slap, slop" is the slogan to prevent sunburn. Australia has the highest level of skin cancer in the world. So, slip on a shirt, slop on some sun screen and slap on a hat.

Surf Lifesaving: A volunteer organization providing beach safety and rescue services.

Swell: Ocean waves approaching the shore.

Tide Chart: Predicts the heights of high and low tides.

Underwater Hazards: Rocks, coral, and marine life. Be careful when diving, even into shallow water to avoid serious injuries.

UV Index: A measure of UV radiation intensity.

Water Temperature: A thermometer (or indicator sign) measures the temperature of the water.

Wetsuit: A thermal suit for water sports.

Windsock: Shows wind direction for safety.


This is by no means an exhaustive list. There are many other words associated with the beach in Australia and around the world.

But, I hope in this article, you will now be more familiar with the dangers of the beach. You will also know what the warning notices mean.

I also taught you some of the activities and items associated with the beach in Australia.

Most of all, I hope it leads to you having a much better English vocabulary.

This article has been about the vocabulary associated with beach safety in Australia, but many other topics require learning new vocabulary.

Further Reading

In this article, I explain why developing your vocabulary is a worthwhile exercise.

© Apex English Tutoring October 2023 - Updated Jan 2024

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About Me

Hello and welcome!

My name is Michael Finemore and I am the owner-operator of Apex English Tutoring.

As an experienced English Teacher, I'm passionate about helping people turn their 'poor' English into great English, with easy and effective ways to practice.

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