Swim safe

Swimming is often a fun and important part of a holiday. However local rules, flag systems, beach currents and where swimming may be permitted, can be different and vary from country to country.

There are lots of things to consider before swimming on holiday, from whether your swimming technique is up to scratch, to beach safety. Here are our tops tips for safe swimming which are applicable throughout the year, wherever you choose to travel on your holidays. 

Take a few moments to read our safety tips and share them with your friends and family: 

Before you go away 

Brush up on your swimming skills and take children for refresher swimming lessons.

When on holiday 


Talk to children about water safety at the start of a holiday, making them aware of the potential dangers.

Accidents can happen at any time on holiday, but often they happen on the first and last day, so keep watch and don’t get distracted at the pool when your children are playing by, or in the water.

Children in or near water should always be supervised by an adult and never left unattended, even if a lifeguard is present. Keep an eye on them and don’t get distracted in and around the water. 

Get in the water with them, it’s easier to keep an eye on them as well as good fun. Armbands can be a good training swimming aid for children but are not a substitute for supervision.

Be aware of your surroundings

Always follow pool rules and pool safety signs. 

Check the pool layout to know where the deep and shallow ends are, especially before jumping or diving in.

Only dive where it is permitted to do so, and don’t dive or jump from rocks, piers, breakwaters, poolside furniture or decorative pool features.
Check warning flags and signage on the beach and only swim where it is permitted. 

Beware of dangerous beach currents, these can be very powerful. Ask your accommodation provider if there are any known dangerous currents or dangers caused by the tides and avoid swimming in these areas. Learn how to spot a riptide.

Beware of underwater hazards, such as reefs, rocks, sudden changes in depth and marine life.

Follow safety advice

Speak to your travel provider, accommodation provider, or local people about the best local beaches to go to, and anything that you might need to be aware of, especially beach currents. Remember, if no one is in the water at the beach then there will likely be a reason why!

Read the pool safety rules before you swim and remember, not all holiday accommodations employ lifeguards.

Never swim where a sign says not to e.g. in zoned areas for jet boats or jet skis.

Never swim at night or after drinking alcohol.

Look out for others

Never swim alone, ‘buddy up’ with others in your party.

Know how and where to get help. If you see someone in difficulty; raise the alarm preferably the emergency services. Ensure you know the correct number for the country you’re in.

Don’t overestimate your ability

Consider swimming lessons before you go if you think it would be useful to learn proper swimming technique.

Even if you regularly swim in a pool, remember that open water swimming can be very different. 

Stay SAFE with the RLSS UK’s code

  • Spot – spot the dangers.
  • Advice – follow safety signs and advice.
  • Friend – stay close to a friend or family member.
  • Emergency – shout for help and call 999 or 112.

The RLSS UK has tips and information as well as courses and awards designed to help you and your family stay safe. Visit www.rlss.org.uk for more information.

Take a few moments to watch our four videos. Take note of our safety tips and share them with your friends and family.


Keep an eye on children when they’re playing in and around the pool and splash park on holiday. Accidents can happen when you’re distracted.

If your holiday villa has a pool, we encourage parents to discuss water safety with their children and to keep an eye on their children when playing in and around the water.

This video explains the importance of keeping an eye on your kids whilst in the pool.

This video explains what to do if you're swimming in the sea and get caught in a rip tide.