In the last 5 years, 30% of accidental drownings in the UK occurred at the beach, shore or coast.*

Stop and Think

Stop and Think

When visiting new places, take time to review safety noticesFind out what local signs and flags mean. 

Always look out for potential hazards and warn members of your group to avoid possible risks.

Do not swim near or dive from rocks, piers, breakwater and coral.

Never use inflatables in open water – although they look fun, inflatable water toys can quickly get caught in the wind and be blown out to sea.

Take extra care when intoxicated around water and never enter the water whilst under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.

Stay Together

Stay Together

Always choose to visit a lifeguarded beach or resort.  Consider asking your travel agent for this information when booking.

Swim with others.  It’s safer to swim in pairs or groups who can help should anyone get into trouble in the water.

Always keep children under the constant supervision of a capable adult. 

Be sure children know where to go if they become lost or separated from the group.

In an emergency

Call 999

Call 999

Be sure everyone in your household knows who to call in the event of an emergency. 



Make sure the whole family knows basic water safety and what to do if they find themselves in the water unexpectedly.  You can access FREE RLSS UK resources to help.

If you get stuck in quicksand or mud do not stand up. Lie down, spread your weight, shout for help and move slowly in a breaststroke action towards the shore.

Resources for Parents

Rip Currents

Rip currents are currents of water typically flowing from the shoreline back out to sea. They are commonly formed by a build-up of water on the beach caused by wave and tidal motion but can also form where an estuary runs into the sea.

How to Escape
  • Call for help
  • If you have a buoyant aid (like a surfboard or inflatable), keep hold of it
  • Do not swim against the current
  • Swim parallel to the shore – this makes sure that you are swimming out of and not back into
    the rip current
  • Once out of the rip current, swim towards the shore, being careful to avoid being drawn back
    in by feeder currents


In the UK tides are relatively regular and predictable, yet despite this fact every year a number of people are caught out by rapidly rising water and end up being trapped in isolated bays. If you intend to venture across any beach or bank affected by tidal water, make sure you know when the incoming tide is expected and know where all the exits are.

British beach flag signs

It must be remembered that beach flag systems are different across the world. However, current discussions are taking place to hopefully co-ordinate the flags for the future. 

Do not go into the water

Red half over yellow
Lifeguarded area – swim between the flags

Orange wind sock
Shows the direction of the wind. If the wind is blowing out to sea do not go into the water on an inflatable (NB Advice is never to go into the sea on an inflatable)

Black and white quarters
Surfing area, swimmers keep out
*source: WAID 2017-21