The RNLI lifeguards operate on Benone, Downhill, Castlerock, Portstewart, West Strand, East Strand and Ballycastle.

They do not operate on Runkerry Beach or WhitePark Bay as these beaches are dangerous.

The lifeguard service operates during Easter holidays, summer holidays and September weekends.

Lifeguards begin patrols at 11:00am and finish at 7:00pm.

Lifeguards at Portstewart Strand begin patrols at 10:00am and finish at 6:00pm.

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When heading to the beach look out for the safety information boards, these will give you information on the dangers of the beach you are visiting. If lifeguards are present they will set up different coloured flags on the beach which let you know where its safe to enter the water.


Each beach on the North Coast has beach safety information signs specific to that particular beach.


In the event of an emergency, stating the area code will allow the emergency services to identify where you are.

Hazard sign

A yellow triangle symbol is used to warn you of hazards or dangers in the area that may cause harm.

Prohibition sign

This sign displays what activity is forbidden in the area, this is to keep you and those around you safe.

No lifeguards sign

This sign indicates there are no lifeguards present. Take caution and follow the safety advice provided.


It is important to know the meaning of each flag on a lifeguarded beach.

Red and yellow flag

The red and yellow flag marks the best spot of the beach to go swimming and bodyboarding.

Black and white chequered flag

The chequered flags are for all surfers and other hard water craft users.

Red flag

The red flag means there is danger! You should not enter the water under any circumstances.

Orange windsock

This means there is a strong offshore wind. Never use inflatables when the orange windsock is flying.

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