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Water Safety


Boats and PWC (Personal Water Craft) Information

East Devon District Council has pleasure boat byelaws in place which regulate the speed at which boats are allowed to travel. On some beaches this extends up to 600m offshore.

We would ask all boat and PWC users to follow some basic rules to enable safe and responsible use of the water.

  • Do not exceed the posted speed limit (10 Knots in Exmouth). The yellow seasonal zone marker buoys designate the areas covered by the byelaws and have the local speed limits painted on them,
  • Navigate with due care and attention and with reasonable care for others.
  • Reduce your wake when approaching smaller vessels or coming in to sensitive areas such as nature reserves.
  • Reduce disturbance to wildlife.

For details of the local PWC club please contact Andy Phillips at

PWC users should also follow the PWC Code of Conduct, which includes:


  • Find out about the local byelaws.
  • Keep below 10 Knots within the harbour limits at Exmouth.
  • Use the PWC area (Exmouth) or go out to sea.
  • Only launch in designated areas.
  • If in doubt about whether you can launch or ride in a particular area seek official advice before setting off.
  • Stay well away from bathing areas,.
  • Stay away from the beach and only come ashore when recovering.
  • Display your DATATAG ID number on your craft.
  • Carry the correct safety equipment on board.
  • Carry proof of comprehensive insurance.
  • Stay away from areas where you may cause disturbance to wildlife, beach users or residents.


  • Drive on or leave your vehicles on the beach.
  • Run your engine when out of the water as the sound can cause a nuisance.
  • Operate amongst the moorings or fishing buoys.
  • Go up river from your launch point at Exmouth.

Water Safety

1: Spot any dangers by checking out the beach when you arrive. Be aware of physical hazards such as rocks, piers, groynes and breakwaters.

2: Look for undertow currents and dangerous rip currents. If you're unsure, ask the Lifeguard.

3: Don't swim alone, it's safer with a friend, and try to make sure there are other people around - You never know when help might be needed.

4: Take safety advice, and aim to swim where there is a Lifeguard on patrol - Look for zoned swimming areas, marked by Red and Yellow flags.

5: Look out for safety information, warning signs and flags.

Red and Yellow Flags - Lifeguards on patrol. Two flags at the waters edge denote where the patrolled bathing area is.

Red - Dangerous to bathe or swim and you should not go into the water.

Quartered black and white flag - shows that an area is zoned off for watersport activities, swimmers and bathers should avoid this area, it is not safe for them.

Go together:

Children should always go with an adult, not by themselves. Donít swim alone. Make sure that you know where everyone in your group is. Constant supervision is the only real means of ensuring your childís safety.

Learn how to help

Know what to do if you see someone in difficulty in the water. Shout for help and tell a lifeguard if there is one. Go to the nearest phone and call 999 and ask for the coastguard. Do not enter the water to rescue anyone.


All beaches have public lifesaving appliances, placed regularly along either the promenades or on the beach itself. In case of emergency dial 999 and ask for the coastguard. If you note that the housing or the equipment has been vandalised, please contact Street Scene Services using the details at the top of this page.

Further Information

You can view further information on keeping safe at the coast by visiting the website.

Page last updated on 28 January 2015