How to stay safe in and around water
Follow and share our top tips to keep yourself (and others) safe around the coast and rivers, lakes, and canals.
- Never leave children unattended near water.
- Make sure you know your location, so if you need to dial 999 you know exactly where you are if you or someone else gets into trouble. We recommend you use the What3Words app to help locate yourself and others.
- Be aware of hidden dangers in the water. Although water might look calm on the surface, strong undercurrents can pull even the strongest of swimmers underwater. Underwater plants can also be a drowning hazard if you get stuck.
- Be careful of swimming in cold water, as it could affect your ability to swim.
- Try to only swim where there are lifeguards present. Swimming in quarries, lakes, reservoirs, and canals is really dangerous.
- Pay attention to warning signs and learn what the different coloured flags at the beach mean.
- Beware of rip currents. If you’re ever caught in one, swim parallel to the shore.
- If you find yourself in trouble, try to move to a floating position. Lie on your back and spread out your arms and legs, tilt your head up and out of the water and shout for help. If you can, try and raise your arm to make people aware.
- Stay out of the water if you have been drinking alcohol.
The majority of incidents the RNLI beach lifeguards attend involve rip currents. Rip currents are also the major cause of accidental drowning on beaches all across the world.
With an extensive coastline around Devon and Somerset, you should be prepared before entering the sea.
Read more about rip currents on the RNLI website.
Watch this video about what to do if you're caught in a rip current.
Read the RNLI's tips for being safe at the beach.