Guide Beach safety and information

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1. Keeping safe

Here are a few basic steps you can take to keep you and your family 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 out for large red topped signs which help inform you about any hazards and rules.
  • 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. We currently have Lifeguards at Exmouth: May-September and Sidmouth: mid July to end of August. The exact times and dates will be on our signs.
  • 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. Do not try and rescue them yourself. Shout for help and tell a lifeguard if there is one. Go to the nearest phone or use your mobile to call 999 and ask for the coastguard. Our beach signs have map reference which will help you tell the Coastguard exactly where you are, or use the app 'What 3 Words' to pin point your exact location.
  • Learn more about staying safe on the beach with the RNLI’s helpful guides 

All our beaches have public lifesaving equipment (liferings) placed regularly along either the promenades or on the beach itself. If the equipment or housing has been vandalised, please let us know.