Beach safety

We want everyone visiting our coastal areas to remain safe at all times. Take a look at some recommendations on how to keep yourself and your family safe when visiting the beach.

  • Wherever possible, always swim at a lifeguarded beach.
  • Always read and obey the safety signs usually found at the entrance to the beach - these will help you avoid potential hazards on the beach and identify the safest areas for swimming.
  • When on a lifeguarded beach, find the red and yellow flags and always swim or bathe between the two flags – the flags mark the section patrolled by lifeguards.
  • Never swim alone and tell someone where you are going and what time you’ll be back.
  • If you get into trouble stick your hand in the air and shout for help.
  • If you see someone in difficulty, never attempt a rescue. Tell a lifeguard, or, if you can't see a lifeguard, call 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard.

We operate two beach lifeguard stations in Herne Bay and Tankerton. These are part of the criteria required for the Blue Flag and Quality Coast Awards held on these particular sections of coast.

Lifeguards -2010

Our two beach lifeguard units are located at Central Parade, Herne Bay (TR173683), and at Tankerton - the promenade below Marine Parade, Tankerton (TR118674).

Our lifeguards' hours of duty are 10am to 5pm weekends and Bank Holidays between June and September, and seven days a week during the school summer holidays.

Beach safety flags and what they mean

Red -and -yellow Red and yellow flags
Red and yellow flags indicate the area patrolled by lifeguards. These are the safe areas to swim, body board and use inflatables.
Beach -flags Red flag
The red flag indicates danger. Never enter the water when the red flag is flying, under any circumstances. 
Windsock Orange windsock
The orange windsock indicates offshore wind conditions. You should never use an inflatable when the sock is flying.

Coastal safety - Follow this advice and enjoy your day

In the water

Pay attention to the warning notices, follow the advice of the lifeguards and water safety staff and always remember the red flag means it is unsafe to enter the water.

Never swim in the designated power craft transit lanes, which are marked along each side by rows of yellow marker buoys.

Take great care when using inflatable toys and never chase them out to sea. Always tether boats and supervise children at all times and remember the orange windsock means it is unsafe to use inflatable toys.

Tides and waves

Keep an eye on tides – you don’t want to get cut off somewhere. Always check the tide before you enter the water. If you’re not sure, check with a lifeguard. 

Always ensure your children are not in danger from the tide when playing on the beach.

Never think it is safe to wave dodge. During rough seas and storm conditions, waves often break along sections of our coastal sea defences. The sea is unpredictable and what looks like fun could end in tragedy with large waves taking you out to sea.

Lost children

If you do become separated from your child or parent, stay calm and inform the lifeguards. If it is not a lifeguarded beach, dial 999 and ask for the Police or Coastguard. 

Seasmart safety wristbands for children are available from the lifeguard stations.

Sun safety

Don't underestimate the strength of the sun's rays. The sun can cause sunburn and heat stroke even at low temperatures or on seemingly cloudy days.

If planning a trip to the beach, try not to leave home without a hat, sunglasses, suntan lotion/sun block and appropriate clothing to keep you covered up.

Weather conditions on the coastline can change in a matter of minutes so take care and check the forecasts before leaving home. The lifeguard stations will display, and be able to provide you with, an updated forecast.