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Visiting a beach with confidence

Tips on staying safe on our beaches

Cornwall is blessed with over 400 beaches and coves all round our coast. If you visit a beach which is busy, have a plan B in place to find another beach less crowded. It will be a better experience for you and the people around you – and you will find some real hidden gems.

Help us to keep our beaches beautiful – take all your litter with you when you go and leave only your footprints behind. Please remember not all beaches will have their usual facilities – and public toilets may not be open.

Continue to practice social distancing when you are out and about. Even though our beaches are a fantastic place and for most are the main attraction for a holiday to Cornwall, but they can also be very dangerous. The vast majority of incidents can be avoided by heeding the advice of lifeguards and not taking unnecessary risks. Look out for the red and yellow flags that mean a lifeguard is on duty and indicates where you should swim or bodyboard and never enter the water if a red flag is flying. Unfortunately, not all beaches have lifeguards.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, only around 75% of beaches are being patrolled by the RNLI. Whether there are lifeguards on duty or not, it is especially important to follow these beach safety tips:

  • Have a plan- check the weather forecast, tide times, and read local hazard signage It is very easy to get caught out by the tide when exploring. Be particularly careful when walking around rocky headlands or exploring rock pools. The tide can come in very quickly across rocks and leave you stranded.
  • Beware of rip currents- Each year lifeguards around our coast rescue thousands of people who get caught in rip currents. If you get caught in a rip current, try not to panic, if you have a bodyboard – keep hold of it, paddle or swim sideways out of the current towards breaking waves which will help wash you back in towards shallower water.
  • Keep a close eye on your family - on the beach and in the water. Lifeguards cannot be everywhere. It is particularly important that you keep an eye on your family and know where they are at all times.
  • Do not use inflatables - Inflatables can be carried out to sea by wind and tide very quickly. They are designed for Swimming pools and should not be used in the sea.
  • If you fall into the water unexpectedly, FLOAT TO LIVE- More than half of the people that drown each year never meant to go into the water. If you accidently fall in, fight your instinct to thrash around, lean back, extend your arms and legs, and float.
  •  In an emergency dial 999, and ask for the Coastguard - When heading to the coast make sure you take a mobile phone with you so that you can call for help if you need it.
Summer Polurrian Cove