How to stay safe in the sea

Enjoy the beach whilst keeping safe in the sea this summer, with these four handy tips from the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) 

<> on July 28, 2010 in Padstow, England.


Over the last few weeks there have been a series of devastating events along Britain’s beaches. The sea has claimed the lives of twelve people in fatal incidents, including five men caught in the sea at Camber Sands, East Sussex and a father and a daughter– when a large wave swept them off the Cornwall coast.

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Each year many of us flock to the seaside to enjoy a day out at the beach, however after the events of the last few weeks the RNLI have urged the public to take caution when it comes to the sea – particularly taking care to avoid rip tides. 

Here are a few safety tips from the RNLI:

1. Rip currents are fast flowing bodies of water which can reach speeds of 1-4.5 mph. Although fast, the rippled patches of water can become difficult to spot. Floating debris and churning, choppy water can be an indication of a rip current.

2. Remember the three R’s if you get caught in a current: Relax, Raise (the alarm) and Rescue (wait for a lifeguard to come and help you).

3. Many panic and start swimming as hard as they can in the rip currents- due to the strong, fast flowing water you can become easily exhausted. If caught try swimming parallel to the shore or if you can stand wade towards the beach.

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4. Finally, always swim off a lifeguarded beach. The RNLI employ 238 lifeguards to protect the public on British beaches. Lifeguard patrolled beaches in the UK caution the public by flag signals. Those who are swimming or body boarding must stay in between the Red and Yellow Flag. The Black and White chequered flag is for water sports such as surfing and sea kayaking. If there is a Red flag do not enter the sea, the water is dangerous.