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

Lifeguard service 2023

Our lifeguards will be on duty on the following beaches from Saturday 27 May 2023 to Sunday 3 September 2023.

You can find the lifeguard towers using the links below.

Look for the red or yellow flags on the beach and swim between these. The flags show that it is safe to swim within the flagged area. The Red flag indicates the water is too dangerous for swimming.  

Our lifeguards will be on duty from Saturday 22 July to Sunday 3 September 2023 on the following beaches for the school summer holidays:

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, see above.

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

Lifeguard courses and training      

Find beach lifeguard courses on the links below:

Brighton Seafront Office has previously run courses.   

Send and email to 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 2022 summer season Brighton & Hove council lifeguards:

  • saved 40 lives
  • responded to 76 major incidents
  • administered minor first aid to 34 beach goers
  • helped reunite 89 missing people
  • tackled 48 incidents of anti-social behaviour
  • dealt with 7 mental health incidents
  • provided 79,000 preventative actions

How to become a lifeguard 

You can apply to be a beach lifeguard for our 2023 season.

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.

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.