Safety on the beaches
The safety, of you and yours, is a key element in the many amenities provided on the beaches of Zeeland. We do our utmost for you to have an unforgettable day, and one that is trouble-free.
Specially designed for your kids, you’ll find ‘find-your-way’ poles (‘orientatiepalen’) on several of our beaches. Each one is topped with a big animal statue or comic character. That way, they’ll find their towel when they finally come out of the sea, or find you when they’re ready. Some lifeguard posts have wristbands for children, for you to write your name and mobile number.
The beach lifeguard stations hang up coloured flags which indicate the state of the sea, and if it is safe to swim.
- Green: swimming is allowed;
- Yellow: dangerous to swim, and dangerous for floating objects like airbeds and large inflatable toy animals;
- Red: no swimming – swimming is forbidden;
- Red with blue in centre: no floating objects – they are forbidden;
- White with a blue question-mark ‘?’: a child is missing, or a child is lost;
- Blue Flag: European standard indicator for clean and safe beaches.
You swim at your own risk. If you follow the instructions of the beach lifeguards, nothing should go wrong. If you find you have gone too far into the sea current, do this:
- Go with the flow, floating. Never swim against the current;
- Swim with the flow towards the shore;
- Stay away from piers and groynes (wave-breaker poles);
- Always follow the instructions of the beach lifeguards.
Groynes: those poles nosing into the sea
These lines of poles are designed to break the waves, to minimise erosion. There are many on our beaches. Because they break the normal flow of the sea current, people can get pulled towards them by the waves. This can result in painful and serious wounds. The poles and the stones in them often contain (pieces of) shells. So, when you are swimming in the water, stay away from them.
Do not walk over them either. They are often wet and slippery, and if you fall, you can get badly wounded.
The word ‘groyne’ comes from an old dialect word for ‘snout’ (nose of an animal), from the Old French ‘groign’.
The major beaches of the coastal councils are supervised by trained beach lifeguards. They work in the rescue stations in July and August, and also in good weather on weekends during the swimming season, from 15 May to 15 September. Some beach stations have a fast rescue boat. In fine weather, they patrol the water so that they can quickly rescue anyone in need.