Download posters for how to be SharkSmart.
Swim between the flags at patrolled beaches and check signage
Life savers and life guards watch the red and yellow flagged areas and will alert you if there are hazards. Always swim between the flags at patrolled beaches because if life savers and life guards can’t see you, they can’t save you.
If a shark is spotted, life savers and life guards will alert you and close the beach until it’s safe to swim.
If there’s no patrolled beach near you, check and follow the instructions on signs before going in the water. Some areas, such as Cid Harbour in the Whitsundays, are designated as no swimming zones. Signs may also warn of other marine risks such as stingers or crocodiles.
Have a buddy and look out for each other
Have a buddy and look out for each other to spot marine risks such as sharks, stingers, crocodiles, rough conditions, and rips.
Buddies can also help each other in the water. Leave the water together if conditions change.
Avoid swimming at dawn or dusk
Some shark species are more active at dawn and dusk.
Sharks use their vision to detect prey or threats and could mistake you for prey in the dim conditions of dawn and dusk.
Swim during the day when you can easily see what is around you and be clearly seen by others.
Reduce risk, avoid schools of bait fish or diving birds
Sharks are attracted to feed on large schools of bait fish.
Diving birds are often a good sign of bait fish in the water, meaning sharks could also be in the area. Stay out of the water or leave the water if you see large schools of bait fish or diving birds.
Keep fish waste and food scraps out of the water where people swim
Many species of sharks will happily take an easy meal if it is on offer from a fisher or a boat.
If you are fishing, don’t throw your scraps, fish frames or leftover bait in the water unless you’re far away from where people get into the water.
Never chum or berley (scatter bait on the water to attract fish) in areas where people swim. Dispose of your scraps and rubbish in a bin on land.
Swim in clear water away from people fishing
Some sharks (like bull sharks) prefer to hunt in murky waters where they rely less on vision and more on their other senses to ambush their prey. Avoid swimming near river mouths, estuaries and canals, especially after rain when the water is particularly murky.
Always swim in clear water where you can see what is around you, and leave the water if conditions change.
Don’t swim near people fishing, as fishing activities can also attract sharks.
Last updated: 19 Dec 2023