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, from 10am to 6pm.

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.

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
  • the most southerly buoy 200 metres out

Stand up paddle-boards and kayaks are allowed in the Swim Area.

Here is a list of vessels that 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.

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

How to become a lifeguard

If you're interested in becoming a lifeguard for our 2022 season, and you have an SLSGB Beach Lifeguard or the NVBLQ qualification, send an email to seafrontoffice@brighton-hove.gov.uk.

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

Lifeguard training and courses

The Brighton Surf Lifesaving Club is a great place to learn all about sea safety, as well as sea and fitness skills. They do 'nippers club' events to get children involved with learning about how to stay safe at the seaside.