Byelaws & Beach Rules

By-Law Powers & Beach Rules for NCDC Lifeguard Beaches


  1. Red Flag (Section 231 Public Health Act 1936)

No member of the public may enter the water whilst the red flag is flying. No member of the public may enter the water after 18:00 hours when the red flag was flying up until the Lifeguards go off duty

  1. Bathing Are (Section 231 Public Health Act 1936)

Bathers (swimmers, paddlers, and bodyboarders) must at all times bathe between the two red and yellow flags, positioned by the Lifeguards. No surf craft (surf boards, surf skis, canoes or other craft) may enter the bathing are at any time

  1. Surf Craft Area (Section 231 Public Health Act 1936)

The surf craft are, marked by black and white flags is for the use of surf craft only

  1. Kite Surfers, Wind Surfers and Similar (Section 231 Public Health Act 1936)

Kite surfers and windsurfers may not operate within the bathing area, defined as the area off sea marked by the shoreline between the two red and yellow flags, to 600 metres seawards of that shoreline, or 100 metres seawards of the swimmer furthest to sea, whichever is the greatest distance from the shore.

  1. Inflatable

No inflatable (dinghies, lilos or other inflatable floatation craft) may be taken into the water at any time

  1. Motorised Craft (Section 76 Public Health Act 1961)

No motorised craft (powerboats, jet skies, dinghies, ski boats or vessels powered by an engine) may be launched from, or operate up to 1000 metres from low water mark

  1. Sailing & Rowing Craft (Section 76 Public Health Act 1961)

Sailing and rowing craft may only be launched from or operated to 1000 metres from low water mark with the duty Lifeguard Supervisor’s verbal permission

  1. Kite Buggies and Sand Yachts (Section 82 Public Health Acts Amendment Act 1907)

Kite-powered buggies and sand yachts may not be used on any beach from the beginning of May until the end of September

  1. Stunt Kites (Section 82 Public Health Acts Amendment Act 1907)

Rigid-framed stunt kites may not be used on any beach from the beginning of May until the end of September

  1. Motorised Vehicles (Section 31 Road Traffic Act 1988)

Prohibits the riding or driving of mechanically propelled vehicles on the seashore, without lawful authority

  1. Enforcement

Under paragraph 15, schedule 2 to the Cornwall County Council Act, 1984, Lifeguards, as appointed Officers of the Local Authority, have the authority to remove any person guilty of an offence from the reserve. Constables and Officers of the Police also have this authority. Additionally, persons guilty of a breach of these rules may be committing an offence against a by-law and may also be subject to a fine

A1            Sand Hole Collapse

A1.1         Background

                Digging of holes in sand has long been a part of beach activities worldwide, in most cases these are only a couple of feet deep and do not pose a hazard. Some beach users though are challenging themselves by digging deeper holes and also tunnelling between holes and into sand dunes.  A number of deaths have occurred both in the UK and worldwide as well as some potentially fatal near misses.

                 There is no additional, specific Coastguard Rescue Service competency attached to the type of incident. The purpose of this CAN is to provide guidance/instructions for anyone  involved in a sand hole collapse incident

A1.2         Cause of Collapse

                 Sand hole collapse is caused when the sand is unable to support itself and is dependant of the various factors including depth of the hole and sand water content. Wet sand will to some degree hold its shape of structure due to the interaction between water and sand. Dry sand will not its shape and will collapse down upon itself. This can be seen when building a sand castle. A sand castle made using wet sand will eventually collapse as the air dries the sand.

                 As the hole is dug, the wet sand holds its shape on the hole or tunnel walls. As the wet sand is exposed to the air, the walls will start to dry out. Once the s and has lost enough moisture the walls will collapse. This will be exacerbated by extra weight on the sides caused by depth or activity in or around the hole or above the tunnel

A1.3         Risk

                 The collapse can entrap a person, either partially, or completely covering them. The sand will block an airway or constrict the chest inhibiting the ability to breathe.

                 Casualties will quickly suffocate if their airway and chest are not quickly uncovered . The weight of the sand will often prevent a casualty assisting themselves. Some casualties report attempting to protect their airways, but the sand fills any gaps created.

                 Casualties are normally one of the diggers who are in the hole working when it collapses. There are cases where casualties have fallen down pre-dug holes and their impact against the wall of the hole has caused the hole to collapse, thus burying the casualty. (This primarily occurs at night when the casualty could not see the hole)

A1.4         Rescue Response

                 Initial responses in these incidents are generally other beach users, quickly joined by first responders taking the form of Lifeguards, Beach Patrols, Coastguard Teams, Lifeboat Crews, Fire & Rescue, Police and Ambulance Staff

                 These instructions are aimed at directing the actions if the initial response by bystanders and those of first responder units. The rescue methods are simple but labour intensive and therefore response is likely to involve both the public and emergency responders.

                 These instructions may be used by coastal responders on scene; Lifeguards, Beach Patrols, Coastguard Teams, Lifeboat Crews, Fire & Rescue, or be directions given to bystanders and first responders on the scene by the Coastguard Operations Room Staff

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