Coastal walking – 7 ways to stay safe

We teamed up with the RNLI to share 7 top tips for walking safely on the coast

How to stay safe and enjoy our coastal walks

Britain’s coastline is beautiful and wild – and there for all of us to explore!  

With  the summer holidays approaching and airport chaos scuppering holidays abroad, many of us are heading to the British coast this summer – and rightly so! From the well-trodden Wales Coast Path to Scotland’s hidden beaches, and new stretches of the England Coast Path being opened every month, there’s something for everyone to look forward to on a summer walk. 

Coastal walking is a very safe activity most of the time, but according to our friends at the RNLI, slips and falls from walking and running are sadly the biggest cause of death on our coastline. So, whether you’re a once-a-year walker or a seasoned mountaineer, there are a few safety considerations to remember when heading to coast.  

"Danger cliff erosion" sign on a sandy cliff edge
RNLI/Nathan Williams

We’ve teamed up with coastal experts at the RNLI to share their safety advice. Tim Doran from the RNLI Water Safety Team gave us his top tips.  

7 tips for staying safe on the coast   

No one goes to the coast expecting to get rescued, so here are our top 7 tips on how to stay safe while enjoying a coastal walk: 

  1. Be wary of all edges around the sea and waterside. Slips and falls happen in all locations; it is not just high cliff edges that are a risk. 
  2. Always let someone know where you are going and when you expect to be back. 
  3. Take care when walking in dark and slippery conditions. 
  4. Always carry a mobile phone.  If you find yourself in trouble, call 999 and ask for the Coastguard  
  5. Check the weather and tide times. Getting cut off by the tide is a common cause of lifeboat launches.  
  6. If you do fancy a dip in the sea on your walk, always swim at a lifeguarded beach 
  7. If you get into trouble in the water, remember Float to Live. Lean back and use your arms and legs to stay afloat. Control your breathing, then call for help or swim to safety. 

A sobering statistic is that half of the people who drown along our coastline never intended to go in the water, so remembering Float to Live could save your life. 

If you see someone in a coastal emergency, call 999 and ask for the Coastguard.  

A life-buoy on its stand, beside a wide empty beach
RNLI/Nathan Williams

Love the coast? Join in our Coast Path Countdown! 

The England Coast Path, won through years of Ramblers campaigning, is an inspirational project to create the world’s longest continuous coastal trail, stretching around the entire English coastline.   

This summer, we’re celebrating the countdown to every mile of the England Coast Path opening, stretch by stretch and encouraging everyone to get out and enjoy the coast!  

Join in our campaign by sharing your summer walking photos and videos using #CoastPathCountdown on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.  

Hear all the latest about the campaign:

coast path graphic

Celebrating Great Britain's Coast

This summer, join our Coast Path Countdown as we work to connect all sections of the England Coast Path to create routes right around Great Britain.

View down a sandy beach

Walking the entire South West Coast Path

Keith recalls getting hooked on walking the South West Coast Path and how it had such a positive impact on his ability to manage stress.

Four people walking along a grassy path above a cliff

Summer walking – 5 ways to stay safe in the heat

We love walking in the summer weather. But it’s important to protect ourselves from the sun. Read our 5 top tips for staying safe in the summer heat.