Staying safe at the beach
How to stay safe when visiting the beach or swimming in the sea.
The seasonal lifeguard service for Brighton & Hove will start a little later this year and there will be no patrols on the May bank holiday weekend.
Our lifeguards patrol the city's beaches from the end of May until the first weekend in September.
What to do in an emergency
Phone 999 and ask for the coastguard if you see anyone in danger or attempting to enter the water in poor sea conditions.
The Seafront Office has direct links to the coastguard and can respond immediately.
You can also notify your nearest lifeguard if they are on patrol.
Stay safe on the beach
Brighton & Hove’s coastline can be extremely dangerous, with winds coming in from multiple directions causing dangerous wave conditions on the shoreline.
It can also be difficult to enter and leave the water, due to steep shingle beaches, especially during the four hours over the high tide period. The combination of weather conditions and steep shingle banks means you could be in danger of being swept out to sea.
Know the risk
The Royal National Lifeboat Institution highlights some common risks by the coastline such as rip currents and cold water shock on their website.
Please stay on the shore and out of the water outside the lifeguard season. This runs from the end of May until the first weekend in September.
- Even on an apparently clear sunny day, the sea temperature can drop body temperature quickly and fatally.
- It only takes a few minutes for the body’s core temperature to drop by two degrees and for the onset of hypothermia to begin.
- It is never safe to go into the sea after drinking alcohol. Even a small amount of alcohol speeds up the onset of hypothermia in cold water. Drinking also reduces your capabilities. You may also think you are a better swimmer than your true ability and take unnecessary risks.
- Anyone with a pre-existing medical condition or taking medication runs additional risks by subjecting their body to a sudden drop of temperature by entering the sea.
- Environmental conditions can be extremely challenging, even for the most experienced swimmers. The tide and the weather dictate the conditions and these should not be underestimated.
- There is no beach lifeguard service provision in place outside the lifeguard season.
- Large crashing waves close to the shore can place emergency services’ lives at risk and make it impossible to reach those in need.
Pier and groyne jumping
This is extremely dangerous. You should never jump off any structure directly into the sea as you can never be sure how deep the water is below. Even if you think you are an expert, your behaviour will encourage others to do so who may know less about conditions, tides and sea depths.