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Beach Safety

Our beaches are one of our most popular destinations for visitors and residents alike. But our seven mile stretch of coastline is a natural environment, and often has hazards that are not immediately obvious.

Before venturing to one of our beaches, make sure you're aware of how to stay safe.

Get your Child Safety Wristband

The Keeping Together Scheme offers your children and vulnerable adults a free water-proof and tear-proof wristband that you can write your contact details on, should they become separated from you. Get one at our Visitor Information Centre located at the Southend Pier entrance.

Lagoon Safety

The Lagoon at Three Shells Beach is open to the public but please remember:

  • follow safety signs as instructed
  • do not run or climb on the Lagoon rocks/wall
  • do not jump or dive off the Lagoon rocks/wall
  • children should be supervised at all times
  • take care and look out for sharp rocks, shells and other objects

Man-made Hazards (e.g. piers, groynes, harbour walls etc.)

  • do not swim near man-made structures
  • never run or climb, jump or dive off man-made hazards/structures
  • take great caution when walking on wet or uneven surfaces and look out for sharp objects
  • remember to follow all safety signs you see

Sun Safe

To prevent sunburn, heat exhaustion or heat stroke, make sure to:

  • slip on a shirt (preferably a long-sleeved one)
  • slap on a hat
  • slop on the appropriate sunscreen regularly throughout the day

Inflatables (e.g. dinghies, rubber-rings etc.)

If you bring inflatables to the beach you should:

  • make sure that it is secured or held by an adult so it doesn’t drift away from the coastline.
  • make sure children are within reach at all times

Tides and Waves

  • always make sure to check the tide timetable before you enter the water
  • make sure children playing on the beach are not in danger of the tide

You should also be aware of these types of waves:

  • surging waves never actually break and can easily knock people off their feet and drag them back out to sea – especially when standing on rocks, the shoreline, harbour walls etc
  • plunging waves break with great force in shallow water. These dangerous waves usually occur at low tide when the sandbanks are shallow and there is less water for the wave to break into. Avoid the sea when you see plunging waves
  • spilling waves appear when the top of the wave tumbles down the front of the wave. These types of waves are generally the safest for swimming in


All visitors to the mudflats should ensure they are aware of the tidal times prior to walking onto the mudflats. Visitors should only walk onto the mudflats as the tide is going out (approx 1 hour after high tide) and return to the shore as the tide starts to come in (approximately 6 hours after high tide), or earlier.

Rip currents are strong currents running out to sea that can easily take swimmers from shallow water out beyond their depth; these currents result in a number of drownings each year.

Look out for these signs:

  • discoloured, brown water caused by sand being stirred up from the seabed
  • foam on the water’s surface
  • a break in the surf line where the waves are not as big
  • debris floating out to sea
  • a rippled patch of sea when the water around is generally calm


We share our beaches with numerous different sea creatures, including jellyfish.
Do not touch or collect these creatures as they do sting. If you are stung seek first aid for help. If this is not available follow these steps from the NHS;

  • rinse the affected area with seawater (not fresh water)
  • remove any spines from the skin using tweezers or the edge of a bank card
  • soak the area in very warm water (as hot as can be tolerated) for at least 30 minutes – use hot flannels or towels if you cannot soak it

In an Emergency

If you need emergency assistance on the beach or anywhere along the seafront dial 999 and ask for the coastguard from one of the 18 Yellow Emergency-only Telephones positioned along the seafront.

If you need non-urgent assistance, Resort Assistants can be found patrolling the beach areas and can provide information on Beach Safety through to First Aid advice.

You can also contact them by calling 01702 212534.

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