Knowing basic beach safety and understanding how to keep yourself, your family and pets safe is important – before you go on any beach.
The seas of the Fylde Coast can change in a flash, from calm and tranquil to fierce. They have a force and a might that will always win and you should never underestimate the power of the sea.
Every year thousands of people get into real, life-threatening difficulty all around our coastline. They may be washed out to sea, pulled under by a strong rip current, or simply get into the water when conditions are dangerous.
Beach Safety at St Annes
The huge flat sandy beaches of St Annes are delightful to enjoy. But you should always be beach aware when heading to the seafront and going onto the sands.
St Annes beach is very flat so the waters edge retreats a long way when the tide goes out. The sea comes in again exceptionally quickly, and so conditions can be very dangerous.
Watch for Sandbanks
Sandbanks form on beaches all the way along the Fylde Coast. They’re probably the number one thing which would catch most people out.
The sea carves deep channels in the sand, which shift and move on a daily basis with each tide, particularly during heavier winds. When the tide comes back in, the water rushes through the lower lying channels and creates islands. These islands easily cut unsuspecting people off and leave them in danger. The sandbanks can often be too long to outrun, which makes for a wade through what can be deep and fast moving water.
When you’re on the beach on an incoming tide always watch what is happening between you and the shore. Make sure you’ve always got a clear exit route back to the top of the beach.
Don’t Dodge the Waves
The other thing that can be very dangerous is wave dodging.
When the tide is very high with the wind against it, it blows the spray and waves up above the sea defences. There are points along this coastline, especially in Blackpool, where people have been washed into the sea and have drowned doing this. Never underestimate the power of the sea, and always keep your dog on a lead and away from the edge.
At the entrance to each bathing beach you’ll find standard safety notices like this one below which was photographed at Fleetwood. Make sure you read them before using the beach, and observe the guidance that they give.
Beach Safety Tips from the RNLI
- Wherever possible, always swim at a lifeguarded beach.
- Go to www.goodbeachguide.co.uk to search for listings throughout the UK and ROI.
- 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 bodyboard between them. This area is patrolled by lifeguards.
- Never swim alone.
- 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 and ask for the Coastguard.
The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) and HM Coastguard (HMCG) are the government organisations responsible for preventing loss of life, continuously improving maritime safety, and protecting the marine environment in the sea around the UK.
HM Coastguard Search and Rescue team are based in Lytham (in the big car park after the sand dunes on Clifton drive). They look after the area between Blackpool and Tickled Trout on the river Ribble. The are normally the initial contact when you ring 999 and will attend both beach and sea incidents.
Find out More
Have a look at the Visit St Annes website homepage for more of the latest updates.
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