TALK to your local lifesaver before venturing into the surf.
That's the advice from a senior Tweed surf life saving executive.
Cabarita Beach Surf Life Saving Club vice president Andrew Baker said it should be standard practice for safe swimming.
"If you want to go for a nice, pleasant swim walk down and chat to the lifesavers about what the conditions are," he said.
Five people drowned at northern New South Wales beaches from 2011 to 2012 and Mr Baker has urged people to watch what is happening in the water before going for a swim.
Other beach safety tips include swimming between the flags between the hours of 9am and 4.30pm, while lifeguards are patrolling, and reading any warning or information signs on the beach.
Kevin Arney was visiting Greenmount Beach while on holiday from Sydney and said he always makes sure to swim between the flags.
"You've got someone looking after you and it's a safe spot to swim," he said.
"The lifeguards have got the local knowledge, so use them."