As an island nation, there are 11,232 miles of coastline around the whole of the UK. There are currently 552 official bathing sites in the UK, which are identified and monitored according to the Bathing Water Directive 76/160/EEC. There are many more beaches on accessible stretches of coastline that are not registered as bathing beaches because the water quality is not monitored but people regularly swim and use the water for recreational purposes.

Approximately 400 – 600 people drown in the UK each year, drowning deaths in coastal waters year on year account for about 20% of the total. The danger to life in this environment is illustrated further in the facts and figures section, which includes more detailed statistics on drowning deaths and incidents around our coastline.

It is therefore important for beach owners and beach users alike to be aware of the hazards in the beach environment and take action to minimize the risks. Follow the link to safety advice for more information.