Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about beaches

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Frequently Asked Questions

Are the beaches sandy?

When the tide is out at its full extent there is sand. The part nearest the promenade is pebbles.

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Are there swimming zones?

Yes, there are four designated swimming zones on our local coastline.

Swimming zone sign - yellow diamond shape sign (with missing buoys sign)

Annually between 1st May and 30th September, there are areas of Lancing Beach, Widewater, Shoreham Beach and Southwick Beach which are marked with buoys and landside swim area signs to show where the swim areas are. These yellow diamond shape signs (photo right), are positioned at the boundaries of a swim area and are large enough to be seen from the shore or inshore waters.

If any swim area buoys become missing or notably out of position due to inclement weather, landside safety advisory signage will be in place on the boundary posts until a workboat has replaced or repositioned any buoys (photo right).

There will no longer be designated swim areas at the end of the high season when the swim area buoys are removed. Kite sports, sail and motor powered watercraft may then use any area of the local beaches within the Adur District.

Please note, there are no lifeguards on duty at any time. In the event of an emergency please dial 999 and ask for the Coastguard.

Other than bathing, for safety reasons we urge no other sporting pursuit is carried out in a Swim Zone, including fishing. All motor or sail powered vessels, including jet skis (PWC), are prohibited from entry into these zones.

Please note: Domestic paddlesport equipment, snorkeling and body boarding are permitted in the swim zones.

We advise that inflatables are best kept for the swimming pool as tides, wind or a sudden change in either elements can at times cause playtime to turn into a rescue situation.

Please also be aware that the top section of the beach above any swim zone can become very busy with all ages and abilities. Please refrain from setting up any equipment in these areas for any leisure or sporting pursuits.

Maps of the swimming zones:

See also: Seasonal safety buoys (below)

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Seasonal safety buoys

During the summer, alongside denoted swim areas in Adur, further yellow 8 knot special marker buoys are placed approx 275 meters from low mean water from Goring to Southwick. Under the Adur DC and Worthing BC byelaws for seaside pleasure boats, vessels are not to proceed faster than 8 knots when north (shoreside) of the buoys.

There will no longer be designated swim areas at the end of the high season when the swim area buoys are removed. Kite sports, sail and motor powered watercraft may then use any area of the local beaches within the Adur district.

Please report any near misses or accidents to Worthing Coastal Office: 01903 238977.

In an emergency, please dial 999 and ask for the Coastguard.

Dangerous conduct:

Any vessel driven or sailed in a dangerous manner, without due care and attention or without reasonable consideration for other persons will also be liable to a fixed penalty notice. It will also be reported to HM Coastguard and any associated sporting club.

Photo: One of our yellow 8 knot special marker buoys

Yellow 8 knot speed restriction marker buoy

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Can I windsurf and kitesurf?

Windsurfing and kitesurfing is permitted except within our designated swimming zones.

Once on the water, please refrain from using any of the swim zone buoys in any planned manoeuvres and keep your distance from bathers.

Lancing Beach has a designated zone for kitesports. Please see the British Kitesports website for further information.

Kiteboarding is prohibited on our green open spaces.

Please be aware that the top section of the beach above any swim zone can become very busy with all ages and abilities. Please refrain from setting up any equipment in these areas for any leisure or sporting pursuits.

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Can I jet ski?

In Worthing:

  • Jet skis (PWC) can be launched from the public launch ramps, although there is no option to use a vehicle to aid launch or recovery. Please comply with all listed Worthing BC byelaws for seaside pleasure boats, shoreside signage and the Merchant Shipping (Watercraft) Order 2023.
  • If passing under Worthing pier, please use the signposted passing points only.

In Adur:

Please note:

Dangerous conduct: 

  • Any vessel driven or sailed in a dangerous manner, without due care and attention or without reasonable consideration for other persons will also be liable to a fixed penalty notice. It will also be reported to HM Coastguard and any associated sporting club

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Can I use motor or sail powered watercraft?

In Worthing:

  • Please only launch or recover motor or sail watercraft from the public launch ramps, although there is no option to use a vehicle to aid launch or recovery. Please comply with all listed Worthing BC byelaws for seaside pleasure boats, shoreside signage and the Merchant Shipping (Watercraft) Order 2023.
  • If passing under Worthing pier, please use the signposted passing points only.

In Adur:

  • Please only launch or recover from the approved launching sites below. Please also comply with all listed Adur DC byelaws for seaside pleasure boats, shoreside signage and the Merchant Shipping (Watercraft) Order 2023.
  • Please only launch from the approved launching sites - on the Shoreham Port website.

Please note:

Dangerous conduct:

  • Any vessel driven or sailed in a dangerous manner, without due care and attention or without reasonable consideration for other persons will also be liable to a fixed penalty notice. It will also be reported to HM Coastguard and any associated sporting club

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Essential Personal Watercraft Gear

When venturing out on the water we would recommend this kit list of things to take with you:

  • Tow line - six metres of floating, high visibility line
  • Flare pack - two orange smoke and two red handheld flares in a waterproof container are recommended
  • Waterproof torch - for signalling and inspecting intake/pump
  • Waterproof compass and chart
  • VHF marine radio and/or mobile phone in waterproof case
  • Knife with serrated edge
  • Fire extinguisher (2kg)
  • Small first aid kit
  • Anchor and line
  • Food and drink
  • Tool kit and spare spark plugs
  • Documentation - Proof of insurance
  • Spare kill cord
  • Dry suit or wetsuit
  • Buoyancy aid (correct for your weight)

See also:

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Are there toilets by the beach?

Yes, there are a number of facilities along the promenade.

See also: public toilets webpage.

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Where on the beach can I take my dog?

For maps of where you can take your dog on the beach see:

For a list of all council byelaws, contact the Coastal Office, or see byelaws.

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Where can I ride a horse on the beach?

  • 1st May to 30th September: You may ride on the sand before 10am and after 8pm.
  • 1st October to 30th April: You may ride on the sand at any time (note: it may be easier to the west of Worthing, around Goring or Ferring where it is easier to park vehicles).

For a list of all council byelaws, contact the Coastal Office, or see byelaws.

Please be considerate 'under hoof' and help us preserve our native marine flora that compliments are shingle. Avoid damage or crushing of these plants by walking around any foliage.

Please avoid walking or riding any horses or ponies over any part of the Shoreham boardwalk as the structure is not suited to excessive heavy loads.

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Can I go fishing?

Yes there are plenty of opportunities to fish, although for safety reasons we urge fishing is not carried out in a designated swim zone.

Fishing is permitted from Worthing Pier, although overhead casting is not allowed on the Pier decking, only the landing stage. In addition, look out for signs showing areas where fishing is not permitted due to safety considerations.

Please follow the best practice and comply with the pier byelaws.

On the pier there are 3 different types of zone, marked out using green, orange and red discs placed on the upper decking:

  • Green zones: fishing all year round
  • Orange zones: fishing is only permitted between 1st October and 1st May
  • Red zones: no fishing permitted

Please keep conservation in mind and promote catch and release.

Please note: The landing stage of the pier remains closed due to ongoing repairs and maintenance. There is no opening time planned for this area of the pier but as soon as the vital repairs are conducted to ensure the safety of the users a press release will be made and this web page updated. The gates remain closed and any anglers that have climbed over the locked and secured gate will be asked to leave the pier.

See also: Illegal shellfish gathering on the River Adur.

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Do I have to pay to get on Worthing Pier?

No, it is free to visit between 6am and 10pm.

The pier will be closed when winds reach a Force 9 severe gale.

For more information please see Worthing Pier.

2019-02-19 - Worthing Pier

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Is there boat mooring?

Yes, in Shoreham-by-Sea.

For more information see our River Adur webpage.

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Is the weather going to be suitable for my reason to visit?

Taking part in some foreshore or sea based activities in unsuitable weather can be extremely dangerous.

For a full weather forecast and current sea conditions, please see the useful links on:

You can also contact the Coastal Office.

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Are there lifeguards on the beach?

There are no lifeguards on our beaches but Coastal Wardens from the Coastal Office proactively patrol between Ferring and Widewater in the summer (all year round in Worthing).

The Coastal Wardens patrol on land all the year round using All Terrain Vehicles (ATVs), keeping eyes on the water and the beach. During the High Season (1st May to 30th September), they patrol our inshore borough and district waters using a Personal Watercraft (PWC) and rescue board. The role of the Coastal Warden on the PWC is to offer safety advice to water users, uphold Council 'on water' byelaws and to check that all are being as safe as can be so that the emergency services are not needed.

In an emergency, the Coastal Wardens would call 999 and ask for the Coastguard and recommend that the public do the same if they notice something is not right on the water or they believe someone is in danger.

The Coastal Office is an additional service to His Majesty's Coastguard (HMCG) and can be called upon by emergency services to get eyes on something that might be happening or physically assist if able. The Coastal Office is not a designated search and rescue service, that is primarily the role of the Coastguard and RNLI.

Lifesaving equipment is positioned along the seafront in the form of throwlines and lifebelts. The Coastal Office do demonstrations to show how to use this equipment safely. Please contact the Coastal Office for the next available session.

Photos: Throwlines on the side of the Coastal Office and on the beach

2022-06-03 -Throw lines on the side of the Coastal Office and on the beach

See also: RNLI and Coastguard.

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Water safety tips

We have created a short video with Kellie from our Coastal Office team to summarise some of the key water safety tips:

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Fishing boats and lockers on Worthing Beach

Dating back to the 5th century to the present day, Worthing has, in different numbers, been home to a unique and local fleet of commercial and leisure fishing vessels which launch and recover directly from our shingle beach.

There are three Fishermen's Quarters (zones) across Worthing beach that can accommodate vessels and lockers. These are beach sections opposite:

  • Windsor lawns
  • Ham Road
  • Seamill Park Crescent

If you would like to register your interest in placing your fishing boat on Worthing Beach or to tenant a fishing locker site, please contact:

Please note, we require all licensees to:

  • provide proof of public liability insurance to the amount of £5,000,000
  • enter onto a fishermen's licence with Worthing Borough Council

Photo: Fishing boats on Worthing Beach

Fishing boats on Worthing Beach

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Paramotoring, paragliding and hang gliding - can I take off and land on council ground?

Following guidance from the British Hang Gliding & Paragliding Association (BHPA) and the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), any person wishing to take off or land paramotors (a motorised aircraft), paragliders and hang gliders, on council land, which includes but is not limited to green spaces, parks and the foreshore, must request and have written permission from the council to do so.

Without permission, this act will be treated as anti-social behaviour (ASB) and reported to the police (who have confirmed this would be considered ASB if reported).

It's also essential that all paramotor pilots, paragliders and hang gliders follow the BHPA code of practice and the CAA paramotor code, both of which can be found here: 

Please contact:

Photos: Paramotoring, paragliding and hang gliding

Paramotor flight (Pixabay - 5311678), paragliding (Pixabay - 7105552) and hang gliding (Pixabay - 3692100)

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Page last updated: 16 February 2024

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