Tel: 01789 773994
Fax: 01789 773995
Holiday water safety advice from Lifesavers, The Royal Life Saving
Top 10 beach safety tips
1. Seek advice from your travel agent when booking a holiday to ask if the
beach is safe and whether trained lifeguards will be on duty
2. Be aware that the most common time for children to have accidents on
holiday is within the first hour of a holiday when parents are unpacking
and distracted. Parents should take care during this time to make sure
that they know where their children are
3. When you have unpacked, visit the beach and look for yourself what
the potential dangers are before going into the sea
4. While at the beach never let your young children out of your reach –
supervision is the key to preventing serious accidents
5. Always ask for local advice, for example from lifeguards, tourist
information offices, local coastguard stations, or even local fishermen,
on where and when it is not safe to stroll on the beach or enter the
6. Do not swim near or dive from rocks, piers, breakwater and coral
7. Water safety signage can be very different in different countries, so find
out what local warning flags and signs mean – and adhere to them
8. Inflatable dinghies or lilos are a well-known hazard – each year there
are drownings as people on inflatables are blown out to sea. Do not
use them in open water. Rather, use them in sheltered and confined
spaces, such as rock pools
9. If you get stuck in quicksand or mud do not stand up. Lie down, spread
your weight, shout for help and move slowly in a breaststroke action
towards the shore
10. If you witness an emergency, whether it is in the UK or overseas, know
how to summon help
Do stay out of the water for at least an hour after eating
Do swim parallel with the beach
Do swim where you can be seen by other people on the beach
Do keep inflatables on the beach
Do go on a basic lifesaving course to learn how to avoid accidents and how to
cope with them if they do occur
Do be aware of dangerous rip currents and strong tides
Do swim and dive in open water away from rocks, piers, breakwaters and
Do go swimming with a responsible friend or adult
Do swim close to the shore
Do drink alcohol only after going swimming – never drink and dive
British beach flag signs
It must be remembered that beach flag systems are different across the world.
However, current discussions are taking place to hopefully co-ordinate the
flags for the future.
Red – don’t go into the water
Yellow – strong swimmers only
Green – safe to go into the water (NB Lifesavers’ advice is that it is never
totally ‘safe’ to go into the water and to enjoy your swims but to take all due
Red half over yellow - lifeguarded area – swim between the flags
Black and white quarters – surfing area, swimmers keep out
Orange wind sock – shows the direction of the wind. If the wind is blowing out
to sea do not go into the water on an inflatable (NB Lifesavers advice is never
to go into the sea on an inflatable)
Red and white quarters – shark warning (unusual in this country)
White and blue halves with a v-shape taken out of the far blue end – diving
burgee – this means that there are divers below
Top 10 holiday swimming pool safety tips
At swimming pools:
1. Check with your tour operator that any hotel swimming pool has fully
qualified lifeguards and the depth of your swimming pool
2. Ensure that when your children are in or near water that they are
supervised at all times
3. Keep an eye on any friends and family who use a swimming pool, no
matter how strong a swimmer they may be
4. Before using the pool, familiarise yourself with the layout to identify the
deep and shallow end
5. Make sure that you read and follow the pool rules and restrictions at all
6. Poolsides can be very slippery, do not allow your children to run
7. Ensure that your children do not dive into water that is less than 1.5m
8. Do not allow your children to jump or dive from any raised features or
from poolside furniture
9. Do not allow your children to use the pool after dark or opening hours,
even if it has underwater lights
10. In the event of an emergency, know how to summon help
Drowning is the third most common cause of accidental death among young
people under the age of 16. It claims the lives of about 50 lives of children
under 16 every year.
According to the latest figures, in 2003 73 UK nationals drowned abroad. Of
these 17 were under the age of 18.
Examples of recent drownings that could have been avoided
In March 2005 Kim Barrett, 33, and her two children Luke, 11, and Aimee
Greenwood, 13, from Leeds, were swept into the North Sea as 20ft waves
crashed into them as they strolled along the promenade at Scarborough.
In January 2005 British police officer Jonny Speakman, 33, of Chester,
drowned in Australia while saving children caught in a rip tide.
In August 2004 10-year-old Wayne Adams died saving his 11-year-old brother
Jason, when they got into trouble in the sea off St Bees near Whitehaven,
Ryan Pitney, four, from Plymouth, died at Portheras Cove in June 2003 when
he was swept away to his death.
In 2003 Peter and Alison Rainey, from Dollar, Clackmannanshire were killed
after an inflatable dinghy capsized in rough seas off Paphos where they were
on holiday. Their nine-year-old son Callum was rescued from the boat, while
his six-year-old sister Catriona watched the incident from the beach.
Non-swimmer Gemma Carter, 13, from Beeston, Leeds, drowned in the sea
during a school trip to Le Touquet in France in 1999.
Examples of saves made
Sun, sea and save
When 15-year-old Sam Powell went on holiday in 2004 to the Costa Blanca in
Spain, lifesaving was the last thing on her mind. But, , butwhen she came
across a man who had collapsed in the street, Sam knew exactly what to do.
Using the knowledge that she had picked up from Lifesavers lifesaving
classes at Wombourne Leisure Centre, the Staffordshire schoolgirl put her
skills into action. After assessing the casualty and maintaining a chin lift, Sam
placed him in the recovery position before calling for an ambulance. Even this
was a challenge as the emergency services operator could not speak English,
forcing Sam to use her Spanish linguistic skills.
Andrew Johnson, from Wombourne Lifesavers said:
“Sam’s quick response is exactly what we’ve come to expect from this
enthusiastic young lady, and quite possibly saved this man’s life.”
Sam has since been awarded with an RLSS UK Letter of Recognition for her
Darcie saves Darcy
In 2004 seven-year old Darcie Williamson from Falkirk could not swim. For
Darcie, who was a swimming pupil of Lifesavers Scottish Eastern Branch
member Lindsay Young, the summer holidays proved to be a turning point.
While on holiday in Majorca Darcie’s confidence in the water soared and by
the second week she had learned how to use a mask and a snorkel. While
practising in the deep end of the pool another little girl slipped off the steps
and began to sink.
Looking through her mask Darcie saw the girl and swam over in her direction.
Using her new-found water confidence Darcie pulled the girl up to the surface
and over to the side of the pool where her Dad pulled her out of the water.
The strange thing is that Darcie is an uncommon name for a girl, and yet the
girl she saved was also called Darcy.
An overall relief
Steve and Wendy Overall run the Lifesavers, The Royal Life Saving Society
UK volunteer lifeguard unit at Boscombe, near Bournemouth. And yet even
they have suffered the momentary panic of losing their child on the beach.
Wendy explains: “During busy periods our lifeguard unit reunites about three
lost children with their parents every week. So you would think that would
mean that we would be well aware of the dangers of taking your eye of your
“However, last summer we took our one-year-old daughter Molly to the beach
to enjoy a day out. We must have taken our eye off her for only a few
seconds, and yet when we looked up, she was nowhere to be seen.
“We immediately panicked and ran round to find her. As it happens she was
only metres away behind a sandcastle and we found her within 30 seconds.
The relief we felt in finding her was enormous.
“This just goes to show that no matter how well trained you are and how
aware you are of beach dangers, everyone is at risk when you let your guard
Person to quote
Di Standley, Chief Executive of Lifesavers The Royal Life Saving Society UK,
“Many people use the beach, either at home or abroad, only once or twice a
year. This means that they don’t appreciate the dangers of the sea.
“The other key issue is that when people go on holiday they let their guard
down and often do not take as much notice of safety considerations as they
would at home.
“At the end of the day all we urge is that people use their common sense both
when booking and enjoying their holiday.”
For information on water safety, lifesaving and lifeguarding skills, call
Lifesavers The Royal Life Saving Society UK on 01789 773 994.
Di is available for interview – to organise this, contact Nikki Cheung on 024
7630 666, e: email@example.com
Notes to News desks:
Lifesavers The Royal Life Saving Society UK, is the governing body and
leading provider of training and education in lifesaving, lifeguarding, water
safety and life support skills in the UK. Each year its volunteers train
approximately 1 million people in water safety, rescue techniques and life
support, including 95 per cent of all pool and beach lifeguards.
As a national charity, Lifesavers relies on public support.
For further information, please contact Nikki Cheung, The Bridge Group,
telephone: 0247 630 6666, email: firstname.lastname@example.org