Young woman on phone while walking dogs along the coast

Coastal safety

Coastal safety

Coastal safety tips:
Tip 1
Check the weather and tides
Tides follow a predictable pattern, check before you leave home
Tip 2
Stay clear of cliff edges and bases
Cliffs are unstable and rocks can fall at any time
Tip 3
Keep your dog on a lead
If they fall down a cliff do not go after them, call 999 and ask for the Coastguard
Tip 4
Share your plans
Tell someone where you're going and what time you’ll be back, note down your exact start and end locations. If you do not return as planned they can raise the alarm
Tip 5
Carry a charged mobile phone
Things can go wrong unexpectedly so always keep a means of calling for help with you
If you get in trouble at the coast call 999 and ask for the Coastguard
Cliff people
Man on cliff

Cliff and coastal walking

Cliffs can be more unstable than they look, cliff falls or landslides happen without warning.

Reduce the risks:

  • Stay well back from cliff edges.

  • Take note of warning signs.

  • Be aware that strong gusts of wind may affect your balance and can be fatal

  • Stick to the signposted coastal paths – avoid informal or unsigned paths leading down to beaches as these can be dangerous.

  • Wear suitable shoes and clothing, and take food and water. 

  • Take a fully charged mobile phone with you.
  • Be extra careful in the dark and if paths are slippery.

  • Never climb a cliff as a shortcut to the top.
  • Tell someone where you’re going and when you’re likely to be back.
  • If you get into difficulty, call 999 and ask for the Coastguard.
Mud rescue

Mud and quicksand

Mud and quicksand can be dangerous as once you’re stuck, it’s incredibly difficult to get out without help from trained rescuers. As well as the danger of sinking, there’s also a risk of drowning because of rising water levels and tides.  

Reduce the risks:

  • Check the weather forecast and tide times before you leave home.
  • Look out for and follow the advice on warning signs.
  • Avoid crossing estuaries and walking through mud where there can be hidden channels of fast-flowing water.
  • If you do get trapped, sit back to spread your weight evenly across the surface.
  • Stop others from trying to help you, as they might get stuck too.
  • If you get stuck, call 999 immediately and ask for the Coastguard.
A sign on the edge of a pier that reads 'no jumpinng or diving'


Tombstoning is a high-risk activity where people jump or dive from height into water, often from piers, jetties, cliffs and bridges. Changing tides and water depth, submerged items and cold water shock can cause death or life changing injuries. 

Submerged hazards like rocks may not be visible, and water may be shallower than it seems. Also, once in the water it may be impossible to get out. 

Reduce the risks:

  • Do not jump.
  • Instead, try coasteering with a registered provider. They will provide the necessary training and equipment to make the experience both safe and enjoyable.
  • Never go into water while under the influence of alcohol, drugs or peer pressure.
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