Be CoastWise Stay safe when visiting the coast

Many people have fond childhood memories of trips to the seaside: building epic sandcastles, paddling in the sea, collecting little clam shells and interesting bits of seaweed, finding sand in everything for the next couple of days.

Dorset’s spectacular beaches and coastline provide a wonderful environment for families to enjoy together, with a whole range of fun activities and experiences that can make unforgettable memories.

So if you are planning to visit Dorset’s beaches and coastline, make sure your family watch and share our short film below, where our CoastWise friends explain how to stay safe, while still having fun on the coast! 

What to do in an emergency

  • Find the nearest phone and call 999 or get someone else to call 999 for you in an emergency
  • If you need rescuing shout loudly to attract attention
  • Never enter the water to save someone
  • If you are caught in a strong current that takes you out of your depth don’t panic or swim against it. Raise your hand and shout for help. Swim parallel to the shore until you are out of it and then swim to shore.

Weather and Tides

  • Plan your trip and always check the weather before you go. Take weather warnings seriously.  Stormy weather and big waves are dangerous
  • Be aware of what the tide is doing - the sea comes in and out every day/night at different times. Don’t get caught out by being stranded by an incoming tide.
  • In the sun it's slip, slap, slop with high factor sun cream, cover up, and move to the shade between 11am-3pm.  Wear a hat and UV protected sunglasses.  If it's windy you might not realise the sun is burning you!
  • Stay hydrated – drink plenty of water


  • Two really important things - stay away from any cliff edge and don’t sit, stand or walk at the base of the cliffs - rock falls can happen at any time. Please read any safety sign and take note of what it says. 
  • Stay on the paths to the beach and along the coast. Don’t follow your pet if they stray off the path.
  • In the event of a landslide or rock fall, get out of the way as quickly as possible and call 999. Do not climb or walk over landslide or rock fall debris.
  • If looking for fossils then eyes are the best tools to look for fossils and the best place to find them is on the beach, not on the cliffs.


  • Avoid areas of mud and soft sand. If you become stuck in mud or soft sand stay calm, spread your weight as much as you can and try not to move around. Call 999 and ask for the coastguard. Don’t try to rescue others yourself, you could become stuck too.
  • Don’t dig deep pits below waist height or tunnels in the sand; at some point the sand will cave in!
  • Don’t touch or pick up any live or dead animals, especially jellyfish and weever fish as they could sting you.
  • Take all your rubbish home with you or put in the nearest bin.  If you are having a BBQ then cool it down using sea water and place in the nearest bin.
  • Watch out for sharp objects and litter in the sand

Swim SAFE:

  • Check the tides and currents – don’t get swept away or get caught in big waves
  • Plan how you are going to get out of the sea before entering the water
  • Look at the safety signs often found at the beach entrance
  • It's best never to swim alone 
  • Always let others know you are going into the water

Know what the flags on the beach mean:

  • Between Red and yellow – safest place to swim as a lifeguard is keeping an eye on you
  • Between Black and white – No swimming allowed as between these flags is for watersports only
  • Red flag – danger, it’s not safe to swim
  • Orange windsock – danger, don’t use inflatables

This campaign has been developed in collaboration with the Dorset Coast Forum, National Trust, RLNI, Litter Free Coast and Sea, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, The Jurassic Coast Trust, Dorset Wildlife Trust, Visit Dorset and SafeWise.  The animation was created by LoveLove Films and funded by the Fine Family Foundation.