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Safety at Sea

Explore the UK

With more of us staying in the UK this summer, and with over 770 beautiful beaches just waiting to be explored, it is set to be a summer of sand, sea, and ice-creams for many. 

The stunning stretches around the UK coastline create perfect settings for family days out, with the sea tempting many in for a paddle or swim on warmer days.  Not all beaches are lifeguarded, so do make sure you factor this in when choosing which beach to visit, and likewise if you are visiting a lifeguarded beach familiarise yourself with the various flag meanings that you may encounter whilst there.

Here is our quick guide to the flags:

  • Red & Yellow Beach Flag – Lifeguarded area to swim, bodyboard and use inflatables
  • Black and white chequered beach flag - For surfboards, stand-up paddleboards, kayaks and other non-powered craft. Launch and recovery area for kite surfers and windsurfers. Never swim or bodyboard here.
  • Red beach flag - Danger! Never go in the water under any circumstances when the red flag is flying.
  • Orange windsock - Indicates offshore or strong wind conditions. Never use inflatables when the windsock is flying.

red and yellow flag on a beach

Be mindful of where you park

Beaches are notorious for giving the illusion that the sea is miles away when the tide is out, but this can change very quickly, the UK and Ireland have some of the biggest tidal ranges in the world and many are caught out by this every year.  A simple check of the tide times before heading off really can save lives. 

Rip currents are also a danger and can very quickly take you out into deeper water within seconds.  Some currents can reach up to 5mph which is faster than an Olympic swimmer.  They are difficult to spot, and some experienced beachgoers have been unexpectantly caught out, if in doubt don’t go in the sea or if there is someone on hand to offer advice then don’t be afraid to ask.  Lifeguards and the RNLI will be happy to help and guide you with any questions or queries.

When parking your vehicle, try to park in a designated car park or allocated space. Be considerate and avoid parking in front of local residents’ homes, and most importantly never park illegally blocking roads or driveways.

A few people each year are unfortunate enough to find their car is swept out to sea or damaged by tides, park well away from the water and use a safe path route to navigate yourself from the car to the beach. 

Check your insurance cover 

If you are planning a trip to the coast this summer, ensure you have adequate insurance in place before setting off and don’t forget about car hire excess insurance or private motor excess insurance. It doesn’t matter if you are hiring or using your own vehicle this summer, we can protect your excess against sand or water damages or anything else that may put a dampener on your holiday.

Date Created: 16/07/2021


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