Kids Activity Zone

Beach patrol

Do you know what you should do to stay safe when you're at the beach? Try answering the questions below to see what you know and find out more about safety by the seaside.

Imagine you're at the beach with Jack the Coastguard Rescue Volunteer. Jack is keeping an eye on what's going on and talking to people who are doing something dangerous. Read the descriptions below and decide whether each person is behaving safely or not. If they're not, what advice would you give them to make them safer?

A boy getting ready to jump into the sea off a jetty

Hmmm... Is it OK for him to jump into the water from that high up?

A) Yes, as long as he's seen someone else do it it'll be fine.

B) No, there's no way of knowing how deep the water is. He could hit something just under the surface and get hurt.

Response to answer A)

No, that's not right. You should never jump into the water from a height. The depth of the sea changes with the tide, so just because it was safe before doesn't mean its safe now. Also there could be rocks or debris just under the surface.

Response to answer B)

That's correct. The depth of the sea is changing all the time as the tide goes in and out. You can never be sure whether it's safe to jump in. Better not to risk it.


A girl floating in the sea on an inflatable

That girl could get swept away on her inflatable if the wind gets up. What should she do to be safe?

A) She should make sure the inflatable is securely fastened to something that won't move, or better still have an adult holding on to her.

B) As long as she takes a paddle with her she'll be fine. Then she can always row back to shore.

Response to answer A)

Yes. It's always best to have a rope on your inflatable so you can have an adult hold on to it.

Response to answer B)

Sorry, that's not good enough. If there's a strong wind or current she might not be able to paddle back. It's better to have an adult hold on to the inflatable so it can't be swept away.


A family exploring rockpools on a rock sticking out into the sea

Do you think that's a safe place for them to be? What happens if the tide comes in?

A)They'll be fine. The tide won't make the water that much higher.

B) They could easily get cut off there if the tide comes in. They should get back to shore while they still can.

Response to answer A)

Actually they're not fine. The tide can cause a rise in sea levels of several metres - they could be completely cut off on those rocks, or even washed off into the sea! Always check the time of high tide before you go exploring.

Response to answer B)

Yes that's right. The tide can come in very quickly, and raise the water level by several metres. You should always check the time of high tide and think about your route back before you go exploring the coast.


Some children swimming in an area marked by black and white flags

Look at where these people are swimming. Is that a safe place?

A) Yes, they're in an area marked out by flags, so swimming is safe there. That's what the flags are for.

B) No, those black and white flags mean this is an area for surfers and jet skis. They should swim between the red and yellow flags.

Response to answer A)

No. Those flags mean this area is for surfers, jet skis and boats, not swimmers. They should swim between the red and yellow flags.

Response to answer B)

That's right. The swimmers should move to the area between the red and yellow flags. No surfers or boats allowed there.


A man at standing near the edge of a cliff

Standing right at the edge of a cliff like that could be dangerous. What should the man do?

A) Move away from the cliff edge to a safe distance

B) Wear a helmet so he won't be hurt when he falls off

Response to answer A)

That's right. The top of sea cliffs can be very slippery when wet, or can even crumble away or collapse under someone's weight. It's best never to go right up to the edge.

Response to answer B)

That won't really help. There are lots of other ways he could be hurt in a fall, apart from just banging his head! Cliff edges are dangerous and the safest thing to do is to stay away from them.


Kids scrambling up a slope that gets steep and rocky further up

Is that a safe way to get up to the top of the cliff?

A) Yes, as long as they put sensible shoes on they'll be ok. You shouldn't climb in flipflops.

B) No, that cliff gets steep and dangerous. They should use the path.

Response to answer A)

No - it may look OK from the bottom, but it's very easy to get stuck, or even fall off, if the cliff gets steeper. They should take the path.

Response to answer B)

That's right. Even if it looks safe enough to climb from the bottom, it can get dangerous higher up. Best to take the path.


Someone swimming straight out to sea away from the shore

That person's swimming straight out to sea. What's your advice?

A) That could be dangerous. It's easy to get into trouble in deep water, and there may be strong currents that could sweep them away.

B) They'll be fine. They can just turn round and swim back when they get tired.

Response to answer A)

Quite right. The further you get from the shore the more likely you are to get into trouble - and the further you are from help if you need it.

Response to answer B)

No, it's not really very safe. Once you're in deep water it's easy to get into trouble. It's fine to go for a long swim, but do it along the shore.


Some kids being towed on a big inflatable behind a motor boat

That looks like fun. But is it safe?

A)Of course it's safe. They wouldn't be allowed to give children rides if it wasn't.

B)It would be better if those children had life jackets on.

Response to answer A)

Hmmm... Those kids would be much safer if they had lifejackets on. Always wear a lifejacket when you're going on a boat.

Response to answer B)

Yes. You should always wear a lifejacket when you're going on the water. If you're not sure if you need one, ask a grown up.


Children clambering on a moored motor boat next to the jetty

Hmmm, what are they up to? Is that safe?

A)They're just playing. They can't break anything, that boat's made of metal.

B) Boats aren't toys. They could get hurt by the motor, or squashed if the boat gets blown against the wall.

Response to answer A)

They might not damage the boat, but they could get hurt. It's safer to stay clear of boats and machinery.

Response to answer B)

Quite right. It's never safe to play on boats or machinery. You should only go on board a boat if you have the owner's permission.


A lifeguard raising a red flag on the beach

The lifeguard is raising a red flag. What does that mean?

A)It means he's going for a break, so the beach will be unsupervised for a bit.

B)It means conditions have changed and it's not safe to swim - people should get out of the water.

Response to answer A)

No, it's more serious than that. A red flag means the sea is too dangerous to swim in. If the red flag is flying you should stay out of the water.

Response to answer B)

That's right. When the red flag is flying it means it's dangerous to go in the water.


A big storm approaching from out at sea

Hmmm, looks like there's a storm on the way. Does that matter?

A)Yes - a storm can cause huge waves and make the sea very dangerous indeed.

B)No - they're going to get wet in the sea anyway, so a bit of rain won't hurt.

Response to answer A)

That's right. You should always keep an eye on the weather when you're at the seaside. Things can change very quickly, and storms can be dangerous.

Response to answer B)

It's not getting wet that's the danger! A storm can cause huge waves that can easily knock you over and pull you out to sea. Always keep an eye on the weather.


A child on the beach on his own looking lost

Oh no, that little boy looks lost. What should you do to avoid getting lost at the beach?

A) wear a very colourful hat. Then your family will be able to spot you wherever you are.

B) Always agree a place to meet up if anyone gets lost or separated. Some beaches also provide wrist bands for children so that their parents can be called if they get lost.

Response to answer A)

That won't be enough. You should always agree a meeting place in case anyone gets separated.

Response to answer B)

That's right. You should always have a plan for where to meet if anyone gets lost. And if the beach provides ID wristbands for children, wear one.


A little girl wearing an ID wrist band

She's safe enough. She's even wearing a wrist band with her mum's mobile number on so if she gets lost and someone finds her, they can call her family and let them know.


Kids playing on an inflatable supervised by an adult

That looks safe. They haven't gone out too far, and there's an adult keeping an eye on them and holding on to the inflatable.


Surfer surfing between the black and white flags

He looks like he's being safe. He's wearing a leash so he doesn't lose his board, and he's surfing in between the black and white flags, in the area for surfers.


Kids following a marked path next to a cliff

They're ok - they're staying on a marked path. It won't go too close to the edge of the cliff so they can enjoy the view safely.


Walkers checking the tide times on a notice board

They're being sensible. You should always check the times of high and low tide before you go for a coastal walk. That way you are less likely to get cut off by the rising tide.