What do the flags on a beach mean?

Beach, Beach Flags, Water Safety -

What do the flags on a beach mean?

Most beaches will have flags and / or safety signs to make sure we all have a safe time while we're there. But what do these beach and lifeguard warning flags mean? Lets have some fun with (beach) flags.

The 3 most common flags on British beaches are:

Red and yellow flags

Beach Flags Red and Yellow

These display a lifeguarded area. The water between these flags is the safest area to swim, bodyboard and use inflatables.

Black and white chequered flags

Beach Flags Black and White

This is an area for surfboards, stand-up paddleboards, kayaks and other non-powered craft, plus the launch and recovery area for kitesurfers and windsurfers. Never swim or bodyboard here.

Red flag

Beach Flags Red

The international colour of DANGER! Never go in the water under any circumstances when the red flag is flying.

Some other common flags you might see:

Orange windsock

Beach Flags Orange Wind Sock

This shows the direction of the wind and indicates offshore or strong wind conditions. NEVER use inflatables when the windsock is flying.

An example of some safety signs:


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Tornado Lifejackets are passionate about safety on the water and we want you to enjoy your activities with peace of mind. We therefore sell quality jackets that are affordable and accessible for adults and children. Our lifejackets are all from Europe's largest manufacturers complying to the highest standards for safety include ISO accreditation and CE approval. Our knowledgable team of experts are always on hand to answer any water safety questions you may have.

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