Beach Safety Zones Map
We have put together a helpful map of the beach safety zones along our coastline, which you may find helpful to download:
To stay safe, remember F.L.A.G.S when you are at the beach:
- F: Find the red and yellow flags and swim between them. Always swim where there is Lifeguard on duty and stay inside the area marked by the red and yellow flags. Never swim where a sign says not to or when a red flag is flying.
- L: Look at the safety signs. Always read and obey the safety signs - they will help you avoid potential dangers on the beach and identify the safest areas for swimming.
- A: Ask a Lifeguard for advice. If in doubt, it's always best to play safe and ask the experts.
- G: Get a friend to swim with you. Make sure there are other people around, because you never know when help might be needed.
- S: Stick your hand in the air and shout for help if you get into difficulty.
If you see someone in difficulty, tell a Lifeguard immediately. If you can't see a Lifeguard, call 999 and ask for the Coastguard.
Other points to remember when swimming in the sea:
- Don't go swimming straight after eating and never go swimming after drinking alcohol
- Get out if you feel cold
- Keep an eye on the tides
- Don't swim near the Pier or groynes
Beach safety flags can be either red or red and yellow.
The red and yellow flag denotes the Lifeguard Patrol Zone, and you should only swim between these two flags.
The red flag means danger and you should never enter the water when the red flag is flying.
Inflatables are best left for the swimming pool as they are lightweight and can easily be swept away by the winds if used in the sea.
If you do take an inflatable into the sea never take it out in strong winds, offshore (out to sea) winds, ebbing tides, or choppy sea conditions.
Only use an inflatable between the red and yellow flags.
If you are caught in a rip/strong current, obey the three R's:
- Relax: try to stay calm and afloat, do no swim against the current, swim across it
- Raise: raise an arm to signal for help
- Rescue: float and wait for assistance and try not to panic
Large and Dumping Waves
Do not wave dodge avoid the sea altogether when you see dumping waves.
Watch out for waves, in particular surging waves which never actually break and can easily knock you off your feet and drag you into deep water, especially from rocks, the shoreline or harbour walls and dumping waves which break with great force along our stretch of the coast. Dumping waves occur at high tide, when the beach is steep and where the water is shallow.
Tombstoning involves jumping or diving from a height into water. It can be dangerous because:
- Water depths alter with the tide - the water maybe shallower than it seems
- Submerged objects like rocks and beach litter may not be visible and can cause serious injury if landed on
- The shock of cold water may make it difficult to swim
- Strong currents can rapidly sweep you away
Be aware of the tide times before entering the water and remember:
- A tide that is ebbing (going out ) will make it more difficult to swim to shore, so always swim parallel to the shore
- Avoid rock pooling when the tide is flooding (coming in) as you may become stranded
Free sunscreen is available at the Beach Office and Lifeguard Station and always remember:
- Wear a high factor sunscreen of 15 or more with UVA and UVB protection
- Seek shade when the sun is at it's hottest this is between 1100hrs and 1500hrs
- You can still get sun burnt on an overcast day
- Avoid dehydration and heat exhaustion by drinking water throughout the day
- Take extra care with children
- Wear good sunglasses to protect your eyes
Free 'sea smart' wristbands are available from the Lifeguard Station and Beach Office. You can write your contact telephone number on the wristband so if you do get separated from your child we will be able to call you - please ask a member of staff for more details.
As soon as you get to the beach arrange a meeting point in case of separation.
Children are safest when supervised but if your child goes missing:
- Check your surroundings first, ensuring other children remain monitored
- Contact the Lifeguards, Beach Patrols or Police and keep them informed
- Let all searchers know once the child is found
Weever fish - sting treatment
Weever fish have spines that provide protection from predators, but also cause painful wounds when trodden on. The best way to prevent getting stung by a Weever fish is to wear some form of footwear when you're in the water.
Should a sting occur find your nearest first aid post or:
- Help the casualty to sit down
- Immerse injured part in water as hot as they can bear for 30 minutes
- Send casualty to hospital for safe removal of spines
- If severe or life-threatening symptoms are present, seek medical help immediately
Where to get help
In an emergency dial 999
Hastings Borough Council - Resort Services and Amenities:
Hastings Police (non-emergency):
Hastings Information Centre:
Hastings Lifeboat Station:
St Leonards on Sea
Grid Reference TQ 801,088
Telephone: 01424 714259
Grid Reference TQ 821,093
Visit www.rnli.org.uk for further information about beach and sea safety.