Earl Mountbatten Hospice


Isle of Wight Beach Safety


Things to watch out for when enjoying a day at the beach.

General Safety Advise

Do not swim after eating as this can cause cramping as a rule wait at least a hour.

Do not swim when Red Flags are flying -this is a sign that sea conditions are to hazardous for bathing.

Do not swim around breakwaters or where Red Danger notices are displayed.

Do not climb on or dive from breakwaters, piers or sea walls (they may be slippery, hazardous and hide underwater hazards).

Do not use inflatables when there is an off shore wind blowing. Always anchor inflatables close to the shore before use.

First Aid

During the holiday season (May - September) first aid posts are situated on all the Blue Flag Award winning beaches. First Aid Posts are manned by qualified personnel and operated daily between 10-6pm.

Red Flags

Red flags are a warning to swimmers when sea conditions are too dangerous for swimming. Please note the red flag system only operates from May to September. Do not enter the water or swim at beaches showing a red flag.

Weaver Fish

weaver fish

The weaver is a small fish about 15 cm long which has venomous spines along its dorsal fin. It's found quite commonly around the British Isles and favours the warm weather between june and august. It burries itself under the sand and is stepped on by people paddling, the sting is extremely painful. The best treatment is to submerge the affected area in water as hot as you can stand. The heat deactivates the venom and pain subsides. Simple painkillers such as paracetamol will also help to relieve the pain, antihistamines may also be helpful.

Advice: We recommend wearing footwear with a substancial sole for paddling.

Rip Currents

Extremely strong but narrow currents travelling along the surface away from the shore. Rip tides are very strong, do not attempt to swim back to shore against the rip tide current this will only tire you out and make it that much more difficult for you to survive. Rip tides are narrow enough that if you swim parallel to shore, you can easily escape the current and then swim back to shore. About 80 percent of all beach rescues are related to rip currents. But if you relax your body, the current should keep you near the surface. They occur in all sorts of weather and on a wide range of beaches. Unlike violent, crashing waves, you probably won't notice a rip current until you're right in the middle of it.

Advice: Relax, don't thrash about and swim parallel to the shore until free.


A popular past time on the Isle of Wight watersports can be fantastic fun if you follow some simple rules:

Ensure sea and weather conditions are suitable - if in doubt seek advice.

Make sure your craft and equipment are in sound condition.

Wear Life Jackets.

Tell someone where you are going and when you will be back.

If hiring a boat ensure that it is licensed for public use.