View All Blogs

Heatwave Hits UK – Beach Rules, Sun Safety & Clever Life Hacks

Isn’t it hot? Oh yes. The weather now, is a far cry from the arctic drifts of late winter – and we’re melting a bit, but it’s most welcome.

Regardless of where you’re reading this (unless it’s a beach) it’s likely you’re planning a trip to the beach. During summer we develop a primal urge to make for the coast, where we loll on the sand and splash in the breakers.

At the Woolacombe Bay Hotel we’re a stone’s throw from a beach that Trip Advisor named the best beach in the UK, twice. To top it off it's also been named the 4th best in Europe and 13th in the world! We’re lucky and proud to be where we are.

If you haven’t visited Woolacombe beach, with its three miles of pure sand then…you should. It’s lovely.

Okay, in the spirit of beach health & safety, and staying cool in the hot weather, we’ve put together some useful info and top tips. 

Beach Rules are Unbendable

Staying safe on the beach involves following the rules. Bending them has and could result in tragedy. Not to be doom and gloom! But, here are things to remember –  

What do the beach flags mean?

  • Red and yellow flags – swim between these
  • Black and white flags – surf between these
  • Red flag – Don’t even think about entering the water

Swell, Rip Currents, Tides & Wind

Swell – How big and powerful is it? It’s hard to judge and getting it wrong can be dangerous. Rather than wading out with a measuring tape, gage whether it’s knee high, waist high or head high (or higher). For power, look to see if the waves are tubing. This means they’re powerful and rolling in fast.

Rip currents – These can occur right by the beach and look like a dark path of water heading out to sea, without waves. Also, they can be cloudy in colour, due to sediment. A rip is a fast-moving stream of water that drags people into deep water.

If you’re caught in one remember the RNLI’s three Rs

  • Relax, raise the alarm & await rescue
  • Wade if you can to keep your head above the surface
  • Don’t swim against it – swim parallel to the shore for the best chance of getting out

Here’s a video by Plymouth University explaining and showing rip currents.

Tides – Although not dangerous by default, low tides may increase the power of the waves. During this time, especially for children, playing in the shallows or learning to surf isn’t advisable.

Wind – Onshore, cross-shore and offshore. If the wind is blowing towards the beach (onshore), that’s great. If it’s blowing along the beach (cross-shore) there’s a risk of drifting. If it’s offshore then avoid floating on rubber rings etc, because the wind could blow you out to sea.

For more detailed beach safety information, please visit the RNLI website.

Staying Safe in a Heatwave 


We’re a nation of sun worshippers, and sometimes forget that the nuclear reactor at the centre of our galaxy can be anything but friendly.

We’ve all felt a bit *blurgh* from too much sun. However, it’s crucial to remember that heat exhaustion, leading to heatstroke is very serious.  

Signs of Heat Exhaustion & Heatstroke

Heat exhaustion – The precursor to heatstroke

  • Headache
  • Dizziness & confusion
  • Loss of appetite & nausea
  • Sweaty, pale & clammy skin
  • Cramping in the arms, legs & stomach
  • Rapid breathing or pulse
  • Temperature of 38°C or above
  • Intense thirst

Heat exhaustion usually passes after 30 minutes of sitting in a cool place and drinking lots of water.

Heatstroke – Dial 999

  • Not better after 30 minutes
  • Feels hot & dry
  • No sweat – despite being hot
  • Temperature 40°C or above
  • Rapid breathing or shortness
  • Confused
  • Experiences a fit (seizure)
  • Loses consciousness
  • Is unresponsive

The symptoms above are for adults and children.

How to prevent heatstroke –

  • Wear a hat (not woolly!)
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Wear light coloured/ loose clothes
  • Avoid the sun between 11am & 3pm
  • Keep clothes damp
  • Take cool showers/ baths
  • Don’t excessively exercise

Signs of Heatstoke in Dogs

Imagine wearing a thick jumper in the beating sun? Sounds horrible. That’s what dogs deal with in the summer.

Unlike humans, dogs can fatally succumb to heatstroke in minutes. So, it’s crucial to avoid, rather than treat. But, here are the signs –

  • Excessive panting
  • Collapse
  • Dribbling

If you think your dog has heatstroke, immediately call a vet, put them in a cool place and wet their coat.

How to prevent heatstroke in dogs - 

  • Do not leave them in a hot car
  • Walk them in the cooler part of the day
  • Make sure they always have water
  • Give them ice cubes with treats inside

Beach Life Hacks for Summer 2018

Some easy life hacks, making your beach day even better.

  • Freeze water bottles – cold food & cold water
  • Plastic jars – for phone & keys
  • Freeze pouch OJ –  quick fix slushy
  • Tinfoil cup lids – pierceable with a straw/ keeps sand out
  • Fitted sheet – upside down with weighted corners, great play pen
  • Talcum powder – Ideal for removing wet sand
  • Mesh laundry basket – perfect for sifting sand from toys


Next Stop, Britain's Ultimate Beach

Now that you’re up to scratch with safety and have some top tips to hand – you can book yourself in to one of North Devon’s finest hotels and relax on a beach that summers were made for.

PS. After a day on Woolacombe beach, please pick up a few bits of litter. If everyone does this, it’s a massive environmental contribution. Or any beach for that matter.

In advance, thank you. We hope this blog has been useful!