Isle of Wight Council

Recreation, Leisure and Public Spaces - Beaches

Beach Safety

Below we have provided some information to help keep you safe whilst spending time at the beach and in the sea.

Whilst at the beach do not:

  • Enter the water or swim when red danger flags are flying. Red danger flags mean the sea conditions are considered dangerous
  • Swim near breakwaters or where red danger notices are displayed
  • Swim immediately after a meal. We recommend waiting an hour
  • Play on or dive from breakwaters. They may be slippery, hazardous and hide underwater hazards alongside
  • Use inflatable air beds or 'play' craft in the sea unless tethered close to the shore. Never use them when wind conditions are blowing off-shore
  • Damage or abuse lifesaving equipment

If you are going afloat:

  • Make sure your craft and equipment are in good condition
  • Wear life jackets
  • Tell someone where you are going and when you will be back
  • Ensure that any boat hire is licensed for public use
  • Ensure sea and weather conditions are suitable.

Seaside pleasure boat byelaws

The sea is for everyone’s pleasure and enjoyment. To continue this enjoyment, and to avoid conflict between activities, pleasure craft users are required to comply with our Seaside Pleasure Boat Byelaws. Extracts from the byelaw can be found on our web page Recreation, Leisure and Public Spaces - General Information.

To improve safety, in partnership with the local Town and Parish Council’s at Sandown, Lake, Shanklin, Bembridge and Colwell, we have reintroduced the Beach Management Zoning service at each of these locations. The service includes the positioning of yellow marker buoys during the summer season. The purpose of these buoys is to show the 200 meter limit of the seaside pleasure boat byelaw. 

If you observe behaviour that might contravene the byelaw that are of a non-urgent nature please call 101 or report to Hampshire Police. This includes the use of pleasure craft driving in and around bathers, which raises concern for public safety.

To enable us to review its safety procedures, please also report your concerns to

Emergency equipment

We maintain beach emergency equipment around the Island. View our list of the emergency lifebelts, provided at various locations.

If you need advice regarding safety at the beach please ask any of the beach safety personnel. Local deckchair and boat hire operators are also pleased to advise on daily sea conditions.


If you see somebody in trouble on the beach or in the sea please telephone 999 and ask for the Coastguard.  Keep calm and tell the Coastguard:

  • Where the trouble is
  • What the trouble is
  • The telephone number of the phone you are using
  • Your name and address