Firstly, in an emergency call 999 and ask for the coastguard.
Otherwise, here are a few basic steps you can take to keep safe.
- Try and spot any dangers by checking out the beach when you arrive. Be aware of physical hazards such as rocks, piers, groynes and breakwaters.
- Look for undertow currents and dangerous rip currents. If you're unsure, ask the lifeguard.
- Don't swim alone - it's safer to swim with a friend. Try to make sure there are other people around - you never know when you might need help.
- Aim to swim where there is a lifeguard on patrol - look for zoned swimming areas marked by red and yellow flags.
- Look out for safety information - warning signs and flags.
- Red and yellow flags - two flags at the waters edge show where the patrolled bathing area is.
- Red flags - this means it's dangerous to bathe or swim and you should not go into the water.
- Quartered black and white flag - this shows that an area is zoned off for water sport activities. Swimmers and bathers should avoid this area as it is not safe for them.
- Children should always swim with an adult. Make sure that you know where everyone in your group is. Constant supervision is the only real means of ensuring your child is safe.
- Know what to do if you see someone in difficulty in the water. Shout for help and tell a lifeguard if there is one. Go to the nearest phone and call 999 and ask for the coastguard. Don't enter the water to rescue anyone.
All beaches have public lifesaving appliances placed regularly along either the promenades or on the beach itself. If the equipment or housing has been vandalised, please let us know.