Beach safety

Here are some tips for staying safe on the beach so you can relax and enjoy your day.

Bathing water quality

To keep up to date with bathing water quality, please visit the Environment Agency website and search ‘Southend-on-Sea’.

Get your child safety wristband

The Visit Southend child safety scheme offers your children 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 Pier entrance.


Dial Southend is a registered charity based on the 3rd floor of the Victoria Shopping Centre in Southend. They offer for hire the Mobi-Chair floating beach wheelchair for convenience when on the beach or in the water. For further enquires email

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


We are currently asking that BBQs are not used in public areas within the city due to the fire risk.

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 doesnt 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 waters 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

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 215620.

Contact Leisure, Culture and Tourism

Telephone: 01702 215011

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