Colin the Coastguard and beach safety

If you're heading to our UK beaches this summer, make it a trip to remember for all the right reasons. Here are some things you can do to keep yourself and your family safe.

Watch kids closely
Please keep an eye on children at all times. Beware of unpredictable waves, rip currents and cold water. Never use inflatable toys – they can easily get swept out to sea with you and your child on them. But if you do get swept out to sea, stay with your inflatable and shout for help.

Free child-safe wristbands
Ask your beach if they have a local wristband scheme which helps identify children if they wander off. When you arrive, agree a meeting place, and take a photo on your phone in case you get separated.

Be prepared
Before you head out, check the tide times and use beach forecasts on the Met Office website. Check the weather forecast – you may consider using the Met Office app. Visit a lifeguarded beach if you can and always swim between the flags. Find your nearest lifeguarded beach online.

Always stay well back from the cliff edge and stay on coastal paths. Take note of warning signs and local dangers.

What to do in an emergency
If you get into danger or see someone else in trouble, don’t hesitate and call 999 and ask for the Coastguard. Don’t put yourself at risk. We will send the help you need. If there are lifeguards near, alert them.

Float to live
If you or your children are struggling in the water, remember float to live:

1. If you get into difficulty in the water, fight your instinct to thrash around.

2. Lean back, extend your arms and legs.

3. If you need to, gently move them around to help you float.

4. Float until you can control your breathing.

5. Only then, call for help or swim to safety.

Colin the Coastguard
Introduce your family to Colin the Coastguard and his lifesaving friends to teach them the all-important 999 message and other potentially lifesaving tips for visiting the seaside. You can find lots of fun, free and educational safety activities on our HM Coastguard page on the Colin the Coastguard website including a brand-new ‘Spot the dangers’ at the beach interactive activity.

999 Coastguard
Please share this advice with your family and friends, and in your community. It could keep them safe too. For further safety information, please visit

Have fun and stay safe this summer. Remember always take a fully charged phone so you can call 999 Coastguard for our help in an emergency at the coast.

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