Beach safety

We provide information to help keep you safe while spending time at the beach and in the sea. If you have any questions or concerns, contact us.

Emergencies at the beach

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

  • where the trouble is
  • what the trouble is
  • your phone number
  • your name and address.

Emergency equipment

We maintain beach emergency equipment around the Island. View our list of emergency lifebelts (PDF, 242KB, 6 pages)  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.

Beach safe tips

While 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, do:

  • 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
  • check that any boat hire is licensed for public use
  • make sure sea and weather conditions are suitable before going out.

Seaside pleasure boat byelaws

The sea is for everyone to enjoy. To avoid conflict between activities, pleasure craft users are required to comply with our seaside pleasure boat byelaws (PDF, 4.9MB, 17 pages).

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 not follow the byelaw but is not urgent, 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 but has not caused an accident.

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