World news story

The British Consulate in Bordeaux advises swimmers of the dangers of the Atlantic coast

The British Consulate is running a prevention campaign, giving safety advice to British Nationals on the dangers of “baïnes”.

Lacanau beach - Credits: Azotte - CC BY-SA-3.0
Lacanau beach - Credits: Azotte - CC BY-SA-3.0

The British Consulate in Bordeaux is issuing advice to British Nationals holidaying on the Atlantic Coast, -Vendée, Gironde and Pays Basque regions - on the dangers of swimming where there are very strong currents known as “baïnes”. For the second year running, the Consulate is running a prevention campaign called “Be sure on the shore”, giving safety advice on these riptides.

Every year, several people drown whilst swimming in the Atlantic Ocean when they are unexpectedly caught in these unusually strong currents. There has already been one death of a British national this summer.

Even very strong swimmers can be victim to these groundswells which are a particular feature of this coastline. It can be especially dangerous for children who should not be left alone even whilst paddling. The best way to stay safe is to swim within the supervised areas and follow the guidelines provided by the Lifeguards at the First Aid Posts.

For more information on these currents and on how to go swimming safely, have a look at the leaflet in English produced by the French authorities.

Top swim safe tips

Top general tips

  • when you get to the beach, find out where the First Aid post is; always follow instructions from the lifeguards
  • make sure you’ve locked your car - keep an eye on your belongings - don’t let a thief spoil your holiday!
  • if you need emergency help call the Emergency Services on 112
  • get your free European Health Insurance Card before you leave: this will give you access to reduced cost medical treatment if necessary, but doesn’t replace comprehensive Travel Insurance
  • if things go wrong and you need Consular assistance while you’re in South West France, call our Consulate in Bordeaux on +33 5 57 72 21 10 - we can help if you have run into a serious problem or lost your passport, but we can’t pay your hotel bill!
Published 21 July 2015