Visiting the beach and swimming in the sea are highly popular summer activities for many British families. Care is, however advised when taking to the water and you should always seek out lifeguarded beaches and swim within the flags provided on these. There are good reasons for this.
Why you should always swim within the flags
Two flags with horizontal red over yellow stripes mark out a safe area for you to swim in between on British and many international beaches. The reason you should make sure to only swim within the flags is simple: outside of these flags, there may be a heightened risk of personal injuries.
Safe swimming areas are usually marked to prevent swimmers from being injured by hazards including:
- Surfers, jet-skis or boats
- Strong currents, dangerous undercurrents or rocks
- Marine life, such as, for example, jellyfish
In addition, getting beach visitors to swim within the flags (and subsequently within a contained area) makes it easier for lifeguards to spot if someone gets into trouble.
It also helps to know what other flags you are likely to see on a beach mean. A quartered black and white flag, for instance, indicates a surfing area, which should be avoided by swimmers for obvious reasons. A solid red flag warns of danger (risk of being dragged out to sea by tidal currents, water too rough to swim due to weather conditions, etc.) and means you should not get into the water at all. This flag or a double red flag may also indicate the presence of sharks. Other marine life, like jellyfish, stingrays or sea snakes, may be indicated by a purple flag.
Swimming between the flags and heeding the warnings of additional flags is just one way of preventing beach accidents. Looking out for other swimmers, surfers, and so on will all help to prevent accidental injuries, as will not overestimating your own abilities and swimming out too far. On the beach, looking out for slip and trip hazards, sharp objects in the sand and other hazards likely to cause injuries at the beach will help to prevent potentially painful mishaps.
Accident Advice Helpline
If you were injured at the beach through no fault of your own, you may qualify for personal injury compensation. Talk to one of our advisors on 0333 500 0993 or 0800 689 0500 from your mobile or UK landline today to learn more about making a compensation claim.
Date Published: February 7, 2017
Author: Accident Advice