Each year UK citizens drown on holiday abroad so being aware of the basic principles of water safety on holiday, combined with knowledge and understanding of the hazards, can increase enjoyment and significantly reduce the number of deaths each year.

People preparing for their summer holidays should ensure simple advice is followed by all members of the family.

Water Safety on Holiday Top Tips

  • When researching your holiday, or arriving at the destination if you haven’t yet done so, check the safety arrangements of any water-based activities and if there is lifeguard cover at the pool/beach
  • Check bathing sites for hazards, check the safest places to swim and always read the signs – find out what local warning signs and flags mean
  • Make sure the whole family can swim
  • Swim with any children in your care – it’s more fun and you can keep them close and safe
  • Never swim alone
  • Follow the pool rules
  • Take time to check the depth, water flow and layout of pools
  • Never enter the water after drinking alcohol
  • On beaches check when the tide will be high and low and make sure that you won’t be cut off from the beach exit by the rising tide. Also be aware of dangerous rip-currents
  • Inflatable dinghies or lilos are a well-known hazard – each year there are drownings as people on inflatables are blown out to sea. Do not use them in open water
  • Do not swim near to or dive from rocks, piers, breakwater or coral
  • Swim parallel to the beach and close to the shore

In addition to the above tips, ensure you and your family know the SAFE code:


spot the dangers


follow safety signs and advice


stay close to a friend or family member


shout for help and know the emergency number to call in the country you’re in

We believe that the majority of drownings are preventable.


Make sure that you and your loved ones are not counted in next year’s drowning figures.

Tips to help you stay safe:

  • Only swim at lifeguarded beaches or lifeguarded pools
  • Read safety signs at the entrance to the beach
  • Learn the meanings of the lifeguard flags
  • Check when the tide will be low and high, and make sure that you won’t be cut off from the beach exit by the rising tide
  • Never enter the water after drinking alcohol

On average, more than 400 people drown in the UK each year. Nearly 60 of these are children and young people.