The UK has a beautiful coastline so it’s no surprise that each year thousands of people are taking up exciting coastal watersports. These activities are great fun and form part of a healthy lifestyle but we urge you to think about your safety too.

Each year we respond to around 2,000 surfsport-related incidents. For this reason the RNLI recommends that prior to starting any watersport you should seek advice from an accredited training centre or recognised school.

Once you’ve received training in your chosen watersport and you want to practise, you should always choose a lifeguarded beach. To find your nearest lifeguarded beach go online and visit

The opening pages of this guide are packed full of useful tips to help you understand the beach environment and keep you safe in the surf. You will then find sports-specific safety tips and recommended equipment, as well as contact details from the most popular surfsports governing bodies.

Use this guide as starting point to having a great time in the surf this summer!

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    Surfing and Bodyboarding

    The BSA (British Surfing Association) is the national governing body for surfing and bodyboarding. For further information, accredited training centres and recognised schools visit or contact 01637 876474. EQUIPMENT...
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    About The RNLI

    The Royal National Lifeboat Institution is the charity that saves lives at sea LIFEBOATS AND LIFEGUARDS We operate more than 230 lifeboat stations in the UK and RoI and have...
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    Surf Etiquette

    To maximise your enjoyment and keep yourself and others safe when riding waves it’s important to understand surf etiquette. Here are a few basic tips that apply to all boardriders...
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    Understanding Rips

    RIPS ARE STRONG CURRENTS THAT CAN QUICKLY TAKE YOU FROM THE SHALLOWS OUT OF YOUR DEPTH Lifeguards will show you how you can avoid rips but if you do get...
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    Health and Fitness

    Preparation Before you get in the water it’s important to consider your personal fitness as the sea can be a very demanding environment. Swimming is one of the best year-round...
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    Understanding Flags

    On arrival at a lifeguarded beach you’ll need to know your flags: RED AND YELLOW FLAGS Lifeguarded area. Safest area to swim, bodyboard and use inflatables. BLACK AND WHITE CHEQUERED...