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Our Top 5 Tips | Staying Safe at the Beach

A trip to the beach is a wonderful way to spend time together as a family. From building sandcastles to splashing in the shallows, there's so much fun to be had on the sand and in the sea. But before you pitch up your parasol, it's important to make sure that both you and your children are safe beside the seaside. 

From finding lifeguard-manned beaches to understanding the different beach flags and their meanings, we've outlined our top five tips for keeping you and your little ones safe at the beach.

4 Aug 2021

1. Check for Lifeguards

Before you set off on your trip to the beach, it is advisable to check whether it's manned by a lifeguard. Not every beach is a lifeguard beach, but if you are in the UK, you can check here so you are fully aware of the help that will be available to you before you arrive. They will only be on duty for certain hours of the day, so time your trip to coincide with their shifts. Lifeguards can help you both in and out of the water, which can provide you with a degree of reassurance as a parent to young children.


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2. Know your flags

When at a lifeguard beach, you will be able to look for their flags to tell you how safe the water is. Make sure you know your flags before you get to the beach – for UK beaches, see our quick reference guide below:

Red and yellow flags – between these flags is the safest place to swim as the area is watched over by lifeguards. You can swim as well as use bodyboards and inflatables in this area.

Black and white chequered flags – between these flags is an area for surfers, paddle boarders and other sea sports that don’t involve engines. It is not safe to swim in this area.

Orange windsock – there are strong winds at this time so do not use inflatables in the water and exercise caution when entering the sea.

Red flag – It is too dangerous to enter the water when the solid red flag is flying at the beach. Keep yourself safe and stay back from the sea.

There are also signs at the beach which can indicate the safety of the water there. If you see a red and white prohibition sign at a UK beach, this means it is not safe to enter the water at any time.


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3. Check the times of the tide

Depending on your location and the time of year, the tide can come in surprisingly fast and at different heights, often taking beachgoers by surprise. Be as prepared as you can be by checking the information boards when you arrive at the beach. This will allow you to decide on the best place to set up and how long you have got to enjoy it before the tide sweeps in. Being aware of the tide timings can prevent several rescues from taking place each year.

4. Establish a meeting point

A beach can be a busy place, particularly during school holidays and in sunny weather. It is always important to have a conversation with your children before you go to the beach about staying together and not wandering off out of sight. Once you arrive on the beach, agree on a meeting point, such as the lifeguard station, in case you become separated so that you know where to go to find each other. Some beaches even offer a children’s safety scheme, which is a great option to make use of if there is one available.

5. Find a spot with shade close by

Sun-soaked beaches do not offer the shade that is important in keeping safe. Plan ahead to make sure you take items with you that provide you and your little ones with the shade you need. Beach tents and sun umbrellas are great items to take with you – tents are our favourite as they are lightweight and easy to put up and fold away, making them the perfect beach accessory. Dressing in sun protective clothing and wearing a sun hat will also help to keep you safe from the sun’s harmful rays.


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