Lifeguards

The job our lifeguards do, where they work and how to apply to be a lifeguard.

Patrols and posts

"Lifeguard post, a yellow shipping container with a red and yellow 'lifeguard' sign, surrounded by yellow and red railings."

Lifeguards patrol the city’s beaches from the end of May until the end of the school holidays in September.

During this time there is a team of seasonal beach lifeguards patrolling the beach. Our lifeguard service also has a patrol boat.

For exact times and beach locations of the service, send an email to seafrontoffice@brighton-hove.gov.uk.

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) provides information on how to stay safe along the coast and in the water.

When and where the lifeguards operate

The lifeguards are easy to spot on the beach with their improved lifeguard observation towers. They are on duty each day from 10am to 6pm or 10:30am to 5:30pm, supporting the council’s year-round seafront team.

The lifeguards operate between the red and yellow flags and look after specific bathing zones across the 8 miles of coastline.

The positions the lifeguards patrol are:

  • Duke’s Mound, BN2 1EN - 10:30am to 5:30pm
  • East of Brighton Palace Pier, BN2 1PS - 10am to 6pm
  • Central Brighton, West Street, BN1 2FN - 10am to 6pm
  • West Pier, BN1 2LN - 10am to 6pm
  • Hove Lawns Café, BN3 2FR - 10am to 6pm
  • King Alfred, BN3 2WW - 10am to 6pm

Extended positions for the summer holiday:

  • Rottingdean, BN2 7HR - 11:30am to 5:30pm
  • Saltdean, BN2 8SQ - 11:30am to 5:30pm

Lifeguard courses and training      

Find Beach Lifeguard courses on the links below:

Brighton Seafront Office has previously run courses.   

Send and email to seafrontoffice@brighton-hove.gov.uk for information on future courses.
 
The Brighton Surf Lifesaving Club is a great place to learn all about sea safety, as well as surf and fitness skills. They do 'nippers club' events to get children involved with learning about how to stay safe at the seaside.   

Lifeguard responsibilities

Lifeguards protect people who use the sea and Brighton & Hove beaches.

Lifeguards also help with:

  • first aid
  • finding lost children
  • tourist information
  • enforcing by-laws

Every summer Brighton & Hove’s lifeguards deal with hundreds of incidents and save many lives.

During the 2021 summer season they:

  • saved 30 lives
  • responded to 188 incidents
  • administered first aid to around 238 beach goers
  • helped reunite 112 missing people
  • tackled 117 incidents of anti-social behaviour
  • handled 127 wildlife incidents
  • dealt with 24 mental health incidents
  • provided 30,034 preventative actions – one every 12 minutes

Swimming zones and what the flags mean

Look for the red and yellow flags on the beach these are designated swim areas, please swim between these flags if you wish to be supervised by life guards.

The red flag means lifeguards strongly advise against swimming due to dangerous conditions or water quality issues. Please stay clear from the water and ask a lifeguard for more advice.

The orange flag is flown when the wind is blowing off shore, this could send you out to sea rapidly. Please do not use inflatables when you see the orange “no inflatables” flag.

Swim buoys are located in the water in a box formation to define the swim zone. They are circular, yellow and say Swim Area.

At an average high tide the:

  • nearest buoy is 150 metres out
  • most southerly buoy 200 metres out

Stand up paddle-boards and kayaks are allowed in the swim area.

The following vessels are not allowed to enter the swim area:

  • motorboats
  • sailboats
  • wind-surfers
  • kite-surfers
  • jet-skis

See more details on boating by-laws.

In the summer months the lifeguard service uses its patrol boat. This enforces the sea by-laws and keeps the bathing zone clear for only swimming. Please speak to the lifeguard on duty if there is an issue.

The chequered flag in Hove, west of the King Alfred indicates the zone for Kite-Surfers and Wind-Surfers. These craft users must launch between these flags and stay clear of the swim area.

Boat lane buoys are cylindrical, yellow and say Boat Lane on top. They indicate where boats and vessels may go in and out. On the beach there are yellow poles that line up with the boat buoys to indicate the lane.

See more information on boat lane buoys.

How to become a lifeguard 

If you're interested in becoming a Beach Lifeguard for our 2022 season, send an email to seafrontoffice@brighton-hove.gov.uk.

You'll need to have or willing to get an SLSGB Beach Lifeguard or NVBLQ qualification. This is the UK Beach Lifeguard Qualification.   

The recruitment process involves a swim test and then an interview. You'll need to complete a timed swim of 400 metres in 7 minutes 30 seconds.   

Apply for the job

We are recruiting now, apply to become a lifeguard.

We are also recruiting a Patrol Boat Coxswain.