Staying safe around the Cornish Coast

Cornwall’s coastline is stunning and should be enjoyed but please stay safe by being aware of potential dangers such as tides, currents, waves and crumbling cliffs.

Find a Beach with Lifeguards

If you are planning to go to a beach for a family day out with children it is always advisable to pick a beach that has lifeguards. Many of the beaches on the Cornish coastline have lifeguards during the summer months.

If conditions are OK for entering the sea, the lifeguards will put up two red and yellow flags. The position of these flags will be determined using the lifeguards knowledge of the beach and the current sea conditions. You must only use the area of water between these flags.

 Image of Red and yellow flag Image of a red flag
 Swim between the
yellow and red flags.
 Never swim when
a red flag is flying


If the conditions mean that the sea is dangerous then the lifeguards will display a red flag. Never enter the water when a red flag is flying.


Always keep your dog on a lead when you are anywhere near the cliffs. This is because dogs will enjoy themselves running about chasing rabbits and seagulls. Unfortunately dogs do not have the same line of vision or the perception that a human has and many fall over the cliffs and sadly rarely survive.

High and Low Tides


Make sure you are aware of the tides. The difference between high tide and low tide can be quite considerable. For example a lovely sandy beach at low tide could be 6mtrs underwater 6 hours later at high tide.

Also be aware that lots of rocky places and secluded coves can get cut off when the tide comes in. Many a fisherman has found a lovely rock to fish from only to find out that the water has come in around them and they find themselves cut off.  Tide table booklets can be picked up very cheaply at most Cornish shops, pubs, post offices etc

Rip Currents

Click here for more information on Rip Currents, how to spot them and how to escape them


Look out for signs at the entrances to coves and beaches. They will have been put there for your safety so it is important to take notice of what they say.

There is lots of information on these signs.

The Sea

Never under estimate the power of the sea. Waves breaking over harbour walls and across promenades look amazing but make sure you watch from a distance. A wave can easily knock over a person resulting in tragedy. The picture on the right shows a wave breaking over the harbour wall at Mullion Cove.


Life Jackets

lifejacketsLife jackets are not just for wearing on boats.  We also recommend wearing life jackets when participating in other activities around the coastline and cliffs, especially for children – for example when fishing from the rocks.  Waves can easily sweep you into the sea and a life jacket could help to save your life.  Please click here to see our range of life jackets.

If you see anything at all at the cove, on a beach or on the cliffs that is of concern then

call 999 and ask for the Coastguard

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