Beach holidays: Your guide on how to stay safe

It is important to take the advice of lifeguards and signs. Photo: Reuters

With many people making the most of the good weather and enjoying the last of their summer holidays the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) is urging people to remain cautious of the dangers of the sea.

They have issued some simple rules to help everyone enjoy the beach safely in the UK. Their number one tip is to swim at a lifeguarded beach.

At a lifeguarded beach

  • Swim between the red and yellow flags
  • Never use inflatables in strong winds or rough seas
  • Check the weather and tide times before you go
  • If you get into trouble, stick your hand in the air and shout for help
  • If you see someone in difficulty, don not attempt a rescue. Tell a lifeguard, call 999 or 112, or ask for the coastguard

At a non-lifeguarded beach

  • Always read and obey the safety signs
  • Find out about your chosen beach before you go
  • Check the weather and tides before you go
  • When hiring equipment, make sure it is suitable to your ability

How to spot a rip current

  • Discoloured, brown water - caused by sand being stirred up from the seabed
  • Foam on the water's surface
  • Debris floating out to sea
  • A rippled patch of sea, when the water around is generally calm

How to get out of trouble

If you are caught in a rip or strong current, obey the three Rs:

  • Relax: Stay calm and float. Do not swim against the current, swim across it.
  • Raise: Raise an arm to signal for help. If possible shout to the shore
  • Rescue: Float and wait for assistance. Do not panic - obey the directions from the lifeguard.

For more tips go to RNLI and to plan your journey go to The Good Beach Guide.