Beach Safety Guide

Published on June 11, 2018 08:36 am


A day out at the beach can be fun for all ages, but it’s important to stay safe and be aware of your surroundings. As there are no lifeguarded beaches in the area, we’ve teamed up with the RNLI to bring you some helpful tips to help you keep safe.

Simon Hannaford, volunteer sea safety officer at Fowey RNLI says when heading to the beach, it’s extremely important to respect the water.

Photo of a boat

“It’s incredibly important that you know the risks, so you can make some small changes that will help keep you and others safe.

“When at the beach, or near any water, be aware of any potential dangers. Know your limits and don’t take risks. Go with other people and look out for each other and remember to take a charged phone so you can call for help if you come across anyone who needs it.

“The sea is very powerful and can catch out even the strongest swimmers or the most experienced sea-goer. Follow these top tips to make sure you and your family stay safe.”

Tides and currents

 It’s important to be aware of the tide times when visiting a beach, especially at high tide, to avoid getting cut-off. Always check the tide times before heading out, you can do this on our tide tables here.

Rip currents are a major cause of accidental drowning, so it’s important to understand them.

Rips are strong currents running out to sea which can quickly drag people out to deeper water. Often difficult to spot, they are sometimes identified by a channel of churning, choppy water on the sea’s surface.

What to do if you find yourself in a rip:  

  • If you can stand, wade. Don’t swim
  • Wade or swim parallel to the shore until you are free of the rip and then head for the shore.
  • Don’t try and swim against it or you will get exhausted.
  • Raise your hand and shout for help.
  • Signs

Take time to read the information on boards you’ll find at many beaches, as they include important detail and safety information specific to the beach you’re visiting. If a red and white prohibition sign is used, you must NOT enter the water at any time.

Sun safety

It’s important to look after your skin when you’re exposed to the sun and by following a few simple steps, it’s easy to stay safe in the sun. 

  • Use sunscreen. Keep it topped up every two hours and use an SPF of at least 30.
  • Protect your shoulders. Slip on a t-shirt to help reduce the chances of burning.
  • Seek shade. Particularly between 11am and 3pm when UV penetration is at its strongest.
  • Wear sunglasses. Ideally wrap-around sunglasses with UV protection to shield your eyes.
  • Wear a hat. Slip on a hat to help protect your face, neck and ears.
  • Also don’t forget to stay hydrated and sip plenty of water during the day.

How to call for help

If you find yourself in difficulty when in the sea, the RNLI recommend you stay with your kit if you have any, as it will help keep you afloat and easier to find in an emergency.

If close to the shore, whistling is an effective way to raise the alarm, or use the international distress signal of waving your hand and shouting.

If going further out, always carry a means for calling for help, such as fully charged VHF or flares.

If you see someone in distress or in the event of an emergency at sea, call 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard. They will then alert and task the RNLI where necessary. 

For more safety advice visit

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