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Safety at the Beach

Off the coast, there are rows of sandbanks. During low tide, these sandbanks may become visible. Perpendicular to the coast, there are openings between the sandbanks. These are rip currents. Rip currents can cause strong water currents. If you get caught in a rip current, let it carry you along with the flow. You will naturally move further into the sea where the current is less strong. By swimming diagonally out of the rip current, you can reach the shore.

There is almost always wind at the coast. When the wind comes from the sea, there are high waves. When the wind comes from the land, there are hardly any waves. This wind makes it difficult to swim back to the shore. In such conditions, do not go further than waist-deep, and definitely do not enter the water with floating objects like an inflatable boat or air mattress. Also, be mindful of balls and inflatable toys; children can chase after them or swim with them, unknowingly venturing into deeper waters.

  • Preferably swim during high tide.
  • Do not swim alone!
  • Stay between the designated swimming areas!
  • Avoid swimming near groynes!
  • Stay away from strong currents!
  • Do not swim with a full stomach!
  • Make sure you can always touch the bottom!
  • Signal for help if you need assistance!
  • Alert lifeguards if someone needs help!
  • Do not use floating objects in offshore winds!
  • Never swim after drifting objects!
  • Do not enter the water overheated; cool off first!
  • Always follow lifeguards’ instructions!
  • Maintain eye contact with the person in distress.
  • Have someone call for help. Let them know you’re calling for help.
  • Alert other beachgoers and ask for their assistance.
  • Only enter the water as a last resort and if you’re an experienced swimmer. If you do, make sure someone on the shore is aware.
  • See if you can throw a flotation device, such as an air mattress or buoy, to the person in distress.
  • Ensure that you do not put yourself in danger.

When and where is beach patrol available?
Our dedicated lifeguards oversee specific sections of the beach. Please check the beach locations for more information.

How can lifeguards assist you?
Lifeguards are here to protect you. If you encounter any issues or need assistance, please seek their attention immediately.

Become an SSN Lifeguard
Are you passionate about ensuring the safety of beachgoers while enjoying sunny days? Find out how to apply to become an SSN Lifeguard and learn more about the valuable benefits and responsibilities of this crucial role.

The expected amount of UV is expressed in a UV index, which can vary from 0 to 8 in our country. A UV index of 0 means no UV, while 8 represents the maximum amount of UV sunlight. In countries closer to the equator and in the mountains, the UV radiation can reach values of 15 or higher.

Sunburn Scale
The sunburn scale roughly indicates how long the skin of an average Dutch person can tolerate sun exposure at midday. For those who burn quickly, the time is shorter. People with naturally darker skin can tolerate sun exposure longer. The indicated time represents how many minutes it takes for unprotected skin to receive enough UV radiation, according to the Dutch Cancer Society (KWF Kankerbestrijding), to turn red within 8 to 24 hours. This is the maximum time for those who want to sunbathe sensibly. The sunburn scale by KNMI in cooperation with KWF Kankerbestrijding

Sun StrengthWeather DescriptionSkin Turns Red after x minutesSkin Burns
1 – 2virtually none100 – 50
3 – 4weak35 – 25
5 – 6moderate25 – 15easy
7 – 8strong15 – 10quick
9 – 10 and highervery strongless than 10very quick

Effects of Sun Strength
With low sun strength (0-4), the skin burns less quickly than with high sun strength (7 and higher). Sun strength also depends on the amount of cloud cover. On a sunny day, there is more UV sunlight than on a completely cloudy day. However, this offers at most the same protection as a sunscreen with SPF 5. So, even in the shade under an umbrella, the skin can still burn. Sun strength 7 or higher is common in our country, sometimes occurring on more than twenty days a year. In recent years, sun strength 8 has been measured a few times. In southern Europe, the sun is even higher in the sky. Sun strength values of 9 or higher are measured there during the summer.

Factors Affecting Sun Strength
UV sunlight increases as the sun gets higher in the sky and varies with the seasons and the time of day. Heat has no effect. On a cool, sunny day, the sun strength can be just as strong or stronger than on a warm day. In addition to the sun’s height, the amount of UV radiation depends on clouds, humidity, or dust in the atmosphere, as well as the amount of ozone. The ozone layer high in the atmosphere protects the Earth’s surface from UV radiation.

Sun Strength Forecast
KNMI provides a daily sun strength forecast. Sun strength is a measure of the amount of ultraviolet (UV) radiation in sunlight that reaches the Earth’s surface. The higher the sun is in the sky, the more solar radiation enters the atmosphere. Some of this radiation is invisible ultraviolet light (UV). It makes you tan, but too much UV leads to sunburn and can cause skin conditions in the long term. The total amount of UV at the ground at noon is called sun strength, internationally known as the UV Index. During the summer period, we alert you to high sun strength on our Twitter account when the sun strength forecast is 6.5 (rounded up to 7) or higher, combined with an expected sunshine duration of 60 percent. You can read about how we make this sun strength forecast here.

Meaning of the Flags

At the beach, you’ll see various flags waving, and they convey crucial information about the current situation. These colorful flags are more than decoration—they are your guide to a safe and enjoyable beach experience. Want to learn more about what these flags are telling you? Discover the meaning of the flags and gain a deeper insight into beach safety.