"Those who live by the sea can hardly form a single thought of which the sea would not be part."
Beaches are one of the most popular tourists and recreational destinations in the UK. But the coast is a natural environment,
and often has hazards that are not immediately obvious. Before venturing into the water, make sure you are aware
of how to stay safe on the shoreline.
Top tips for staying safe in the water
- Swim and bodyboard at a lifeguarded beach, between the red and yellow flags.
- Never use inflatables in strong off shore winds, and even in calm conditions use only between the red and yellow flags.
- Check weather and tide times before you go to the beach.
- If you get into trouble, put your hand in the air and shout for help. If you are on a bodyboard, inflatable or surfboard do not
let go as these will help you float.
- If you see someone else in trouble, tell a lifeguard straight away. If you can't see a lifeguard, call 999 or 112 and ask for the Coastguard.
Inflatable toys and airbeds are designed for pools, not the sea where they can easily be swept out. If you do use them at the beach, then:
- Ensure children are closely supervised
- Keep near the shore
- Only use between the red and yellow flags
- Follow the lifeguards' advice
- Do not take out in big waves
- Never use them when the orange windsock is flying, as this indicates offshore winds which will blow inflatables further out to sea.
At lifeguarded beaches, these flags are used to indicate where and when it is safe to enter the water.
Red and yellow flags
Lifeguarded area. Safest area to swim, bodyboard and use inflatables.
Black and white chequered flags
For surfboards, stand-up paddleboards, kayaks and other non-powered craft.
Launch and recovery area for kitesurfers and windsurfers.
Never swim or bodyboard here.
Danger! Do not enter the water under any circumstances.
Indicates offshore or strong wind conditions. Never use inflatables when the windsock is flying.