25 Jun 2022

Know your flags - beach safety tips from RNLI

Know your flags

Know your flags - beach safety tips from RNLI

Know your flags - beach safety tips from RNLI

The beach is a wonderful place to be. For anyone heading to the coast, the RNLI has produced advice and tips to help us have fun and stay safe.

The RNLI advises: Choose a lifeguarded beach and swim between the red and yellow flags.

If you are in trouble in the water, float to live.

In an emergency dial 112 for the Coast Guard. 

Please adhere to your government’s safety guidelines regarding COVID-19 and respect social distancing at all times.  

Although our volunteer RNLI lifeboat crews are fully operational if needed, this is your watch too. Follow safety advice to protect yourself and your loved ones and you will help to reduce the demands placed on our lifeboat crews and other emergency services.

When you are heading to a beach, we urge you to respect the water and visit a lifeguarded beach. On a lifeguarded beach there are trained professionals to help keep you safe, they will be on hand if something goes wrong, in or out of the water.

Use our find my nearest beach tool to find a lifeguarded beach near you. You can search by address, post code, or you can use the map to look for the closest beach to you. There will be information on the dates and times the beach is patrolled by RNLI lifeguards, so you know the safest time to head down to the beach. There is also a weather forecast and tidal information.

You can also search on Irish Water Safety (Ireland) website to find information on beaches near you.

When you arrive at the beach the first thing you might see is a sign giving you all the information about the beach you’re visiting. This includes important safety info on the hazards specific to the area. The signs generally use two different types of warning symbols. 

Red and white prohibition sign:

Do not enter the water at any time. Swimming and other water-related activities are not permitted.

No lifeguards sign:

There is currently no lifeguard service at this beach. You should exercise caution and follow all safety advice to protect you and your family.

Red and yellow beach flag:

Lifeguarded area. Safest area to swim, bodyboard and use inflatables.

Black and white chequered beach flag:

For surfboards, stand-up paddleboards, kayaks and other non-powered craft. Launch and recovery area for kitesurfers and windsurfers. Never swim or bodyboard here.

Red beach flag:

Danger! Never go in the water under any circumstances when the red flag is flying.

Orange windsock:

Indicates offshore or strong wind conditions. Never use inflatables when the windsock is flying.

See more useful information HERE.


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