National Water Safety Forum


Coastal safety signs

Signage often presents the last opportunity to provide advice to beach visitors. It is most effective when combined with supporting education and awareness campaigns. The problems encountered in the UK include:

  • different signs used from location to location (e.g. all beach access points, patrolled areas, tourist walks).
  • signage not conforming to an identifiable standard.
  • confusion caused by information contained on signs (too little/too much/incorrect).
  • signs not clearly understood by beach visitors.

In 2005 'A guide to beach safety flags, signs and symbols' was published by the RNLI. The project was overseen by the National Beach Safety Council and developed in conjunction with coastal local authorities and national organisations. The guide addresses the issues outlined above and gives operators principles and guidance to consider when seeking to give advice to the visitor along the coast.

You can get more information from the RNLI website.