Beach Safety

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) has lifeguards on Bournemouth’s and Poole’s seafront between May and September each year.

For exact locations, dates and patrol times of lifeguarded beaches across Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole, visit the RNLI website.

The waters of Bournemouth and Poole are extremely safe although, like anywhere in the world, the sea can change. Remember that the beaches display beach safety flags to indicate how safe the water is in that particular area.

These flags are flown for your safety and should not be ignored. Knowing your flags could therefore save your life.

Red and Yellow Flag

The red and yellow flag indicates that the area is patrolled by lifeguards and means that the area is safe for swimming, bodyboarding and using inflatables. Boats, personal watercraft, wind/kite surfers and large solid body boards are not permitted in these areas

Black and White Flag

A black and white chequered flag means an area of water is being used by watercraft such as surfboards, paddleboards, kayaks and other non-powered craft. It is also a launch and recovery area for kitesurfers and windsurfers. You should not swim or bodyboard in these areas. Do look out for these flags as there are various zones along the beaches which are set aside for these watersport activities.

Red Flag

Red flags mean danger. You should never enter the water when a red flag is flying.

Orange Windsock

An orange windsock indicates offshore wind conditions. Inflatables should never be used when an orange windsock is flying.

Lets be safe! – Always check with a lifeguard if you are unsure.


For those of you with children the Allianz Kidzone is in operation at a number of Bournemouth beaches during the summer months. This excellent scheme offers waterproof wristbands free of charge to all children using the beach. The beach is divided into different coloured zones and the child wears the wristband corresponding to the particular zone where they are sitting. The Kidzone team monitor the area and therefore can easily identify a child which may have wandered out of their area. Each wristband contains a contact number of the child’s parent or guardian and are available from the trained KidZone staff, seafront rangers and from RNLI beach lifeguard towers from Sandbanks through to Southbourne beach.

Find out more information by visiting

Be Safe

We want your day at the beach to be a safe and enjoyable one so please remember the following important points:

● Always swim at a lifeguarded beach
● Only swim between the red and yellow flags
● Take care when using inflatables and never use in strong winds or tides
● Check the tide times before you visit
● Never swim alone

If you get into difficulty stay calm and don’t panic, raise your hand and shout for help. If you have a board or inflatable keep hold of it as it will help you stay afloat. If you can stand, wade – do not swim. If you are caught in a rip do not try and swim directly against it but swim parallel to the beach until you are free of it.

If you see someone in trouble tell a lifeguard. Alternatively you can call 999 or 112 and ask for the Coastguard.

When on the beach remember to:

● Always wear sun protection, ideally SPF30 and above, especially on children and babies and re-apply regularly
● Seek shade when the sun is at it’s hottest, usually between 11.00am and 4.00pm
● Drink plenty of fluids (not alcohol!) to keep you dehydrated
● Protect eyes by wearing sunglasses with 100% UV protection
● Watch children at all times (use the kidzone scheme if in Bournemouth)
● Leave valuables at home
● Dispose of any BBQ hot ashes carefully and responsibly
● Do not bring glass or ceramics onto the beach. If you do break something please clear up the remains carefully and dispose of responsibly.

Finally enjoy your day at the beach, after all they are some of the best in the country!

Need to know what beach to visit? Then check out our beaches guide for more info.

Places To Visit

Fisherman’s Walk Beach

Southbourne Beach