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On the water

There's plenty of fun to be had at the coast on a blustery day, especially if you're into surf sports.

Kite surfing and windsurfing in particular can be great fun in windy conditions, but it's important to stay safe. Don't get on the water in conditions beyond your experience and capability. Ensure you're well-prepared, use well-maintained kit and follow key safety advice.

Whenever you're planning to go in the water, choose a life guarded beach. You might not need the lifeguards' help, but it's good to know they're there, just in case.

Windsurfing

If you're new to windsurfing, take some lessons to get you started. You'll need to learn about techniques, the basic kit required (like the board, harness and rig) as well as personal safety equipment.

Whether you're using your own equipment or hiring some from a watersports centre, make sure you check it for damage before you use it. Check the weather forecast and tide times before you go, and make sure you tell someone on shore where you're going and when you expect to be back.

On a life guarded beach, the black and white flagged area marks the zone for surf and non-powered craft. This is the area where you should launch and recover your windsurf. Always be considerate to other water users - find out about surf etiquette and rights of way.

Don't go out if there are offshore winds (winds blowing away from the shoreline) as you can easily get swept out to sea and struggle to get back in again.

In case you get into difficulties, make sure you're well protected by wearing a buoyancy aid and helmet. If you fall into the water and can't get back onto your board, hold on to it because it will keep you afloat and make you easier to find.

The Royal Yachting Association (RYA) is the national governing body for windsurfing.

Kite surfing

As with windsurfing, make sure you take some lessons before getting started. The British Kite surfing Association (BKSA) is the national governing body for kite surfing so book lessons through one of their recognised training schools.

The basic kit you'll need includes a relaunchable kite, bar and lines, a board and a harness. Always check your kit for damage before you use it, launch and recover between the black and white flags (if on a lifeguarded beach), and make sure you tell someone where you're going and when you expect to be back.

Don't go out in offshore winds, as you can easily be swept out to sea. Always wear your kite leash and a suitable buoyancy aid and helmet, in case you get into difficulty.

As kites can easily be swept out of control by strong gusts of wind, never ride or launch near other beach users, animals or objects on the land or in the water. Take care to secure your kite firmly when on the beach and wind-up lines if you're not using the kite.

Kite surfing

For more information from The British Kitesurfing Association

The RNLI's In The Surf guide

provides key safety advice for a range of surf sports, including surfing, body boarding, windsurfing, kayaking and canoeing, kite surfing and stand-up paddle boarding.

More information

RNLI Lifeguard on beach Ten top tips for a safe summer at the seaside

Ten top tips for a safe summer at the seaside.

Paddle boarding Stand up paddle boarding

Get up, stand up.

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