In Western Australia, you will find endless stretches of pristine beaches, turquoise waters, world class surfing, untouched islands and reefs, rugged gorges and encounters with marine life unrivalled anywhere in the world. We want you to enjoy your time and help your family and friends to stay safe, so make sure you are aware of and understand the hazards.
Beaches and coastal areas
The Beachsafe website and app provides comprehensive information and details of nearly 3,500 beaches in Western Australia, including some beaches in our parks and reserves. Check this information, ensure you are familiar with it and do not underestimate the risks in coastal environments.
BEN Signs (Beach Emergency Number)
Beach users should become familiar with BEN signs and take note of the unique code on the beach access point they use, when visiting the beach. Not all beaches will have a BEN sign and number.
Codes have been created with a unique prefix which allows integration into computer aided dispatch systems used by emergency services. These signs provide specific location information which is vital when emergency services (ambulance, police and fire crews) are deployed. More information on BEN signs can be found here.
Also explore our coastal and marine parks and reserves on the this website but note that almost without exception, beaches in parks and reserves are unpatrolled.
Be sun smart: always wear a hat, have sunscreen and a shirt.
Waves, swells and rips
Large waves and swells can occur in many coastal areas, even on calm days. Waves can sweep over rocky headlands without warning. Powerful rips and undertows can occur. Beware of being trapped by rising tides.
Rip currents are the number one hazard on Australian beaches and are responsible for drownings every year, as well as being the cause of many rescues. Rip currents often lead to drowning when swimmers attempt to fight the current by trying to swim directly back to the shoreline, become exhausted and begin to panic.
Make sure you are familiar with what to do if you get caught in a rip by checking the safety information provided by Beachsafe.
Cliffs and overhangs
Take special care near coastal cliffs. The erosive power of the ocean and strong coastal winds can make cliffs unstable and prone to collapse, which poses a risk to anyone above or below. Overhangs can collapse suddenly without warning. Keep a safe distance from cliffs as they can also experience wind gusts that have the power to blow objects, and even people, off the cliff edge.
Supervise children at all times when around cliffs.
Inlet crossings and rising tides
Along the coast you may encounter river inlets that are typically closed by sandbars for many years but these can break following very heavy rain and then remain open for several weeks. When open, water at the inlet mouth may be deep and strong-flowing. Do not attempt to cross the inlet in these conditions.
Beware of being trapped by rising tides. Tide predictions are available from the Bureau of Meteorology.
Dangerous marine animals
Some marine animals are harmful. They may bite, sting or have sharp spines. Take heed of any warning signs and tread carefully when going into the water. Consider wearing bootees or reef shoes when walking in the water and fins and gloves when snorkelling.