News article

British Consulate in Bordeaux warns swimmers of the dangers of the Atlantic coast

This world location news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

The British Consulate has issued advice to British Nationals holidaying on the Atlantic Coast on the dangers of currents known as “baïnes”.

The British Consulate in Bordeaux has issued advice to British Nationals holidaying on the Atlantic Coast, in the Vendée, Gironde and Pays Basque regions on the dangers of swimming where there are very strong currents known as “baïnes”.

Every year, several people drown whilst swimming in the Atlantic Ocean when they are unexpectedly caught in the very strong currents. In Gironde alone in 2012, 12 people died in these circumstances.

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 and available on the Gironde Prefecture website.

Tips for visitors to France

  • When you get to the beach, find out where the First Aid post is. Always follow instructions from the lifeguards.
  • Make sure that you’ve locked your car, and 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.
  • Remember to get a free European Health Insurance Card before you leave. This will give you access to reduced cost medical treatment if that becomes necessary, but it 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!

Notes to Editors

The British Consulate in Bordeaux is part of the British Network in France and provides Consular Assistance to British Nationals living or travelling in South West France.