As a result of its early popularity a ‘caretaker’ patrolled the beach as early as 1906. In 1909 it became the birth place of surfing and surf lifesaving in Western Australia, with the establishment of the Cottesloe Surf Life Saving Club, with the North Cottesloe club following in 1912. The entire beach is backed by Marine Parade.
Between the Parade and the beach is the Cottesloe Surf Life Saving Club and a car park on the southern bluffs above the groyne, with an equipment building on the beach. Cottesloe patrols the southern half of the beach. There are a series of car parks, together with a grassy reserve between the parade and beach and a large beach pavilion. Waves average about 1 m up the beach and usually maintain a steep beach with an attached 50 m wide bar. During winter and following higher waves rips usually commence about 100 m up the beach together with permanent rips against the reefs. The reefs in particular induce stronger currents and deeper rip channels and should be avoided by swimmers.