Access, Facilities and Safety

Our award-winning beaches provide good standards of information to ensure a safe, welcoming environment in which users can have a pleasant experience. 

At award-wining beaches, safety equipment and services provided must, so far as is reasonably practical, minimise the possibility of harm to beach users. 


To meet the requirements of the Scotland's Beach Awards, all beaches need to meet the following:

Major criteria

  • The Beach Operator must ensure a site-specific risk assessment, carried out by appropriate qualified personnel, details suitable control measures to ensure safe use of the beach and surrounding area.


  • Beach users must be warned of the potential hazards of swimming and advised of appropriate behaviour close to water.


  • Where rescue equipment is provided by the Beach Operator, this should be well maintained and easily accessed. In some cases, this may also include a lifeguard station.


  • So far as is reasonably practicable, safe access to the beach award area must be provided for all.


  • The Beach Operator must have an appropriate local emergency plan to cope with incidents which require the closure of the beach.

Minor criteria

  • Safety information regarding hazards e.g. swimming.


  • Useful contacts including: Beach Operator, emergency contacts and first aid point/local hospital.


  • A code of conduct that reflects local rules governing the use of the beach.


  • Promotional mark (flag or plaque, and  certificate) with basic information about the award should be displayed.


  • A map of the beach which indicates the location of all facilities.


  • The information board must be up to date, well maintained and legible.


  • Information should be provided on emergency contacts and advice on what to do in the event of an emergency.


  • The Beach Operator must provide appropriate litter bins in adequate numbers, properly secured and well maintained.


  • The Beach Operator should provide appropriate facilities for the disposal of dog waste.


  • The Beach Operator must ensure that any buildings, facilities and equipment present are maintained to a high standard. If buildings are found to be in a state that may pose danger to the public, this will be escalated to a major non-compliance issue.


To meet the requirements of the Scotland's Beach Awards, designated bathing waters must meet all of the above as well as the following:

Major criteria

  • Toilet facilities must be clean and well maintained, with provisions for washing/drying hands, toilet roll, waste bins and sanitary bins. Opening times should be displayed clearly. Areas where there are no toilet facilities will only be considered in special circumstances. Where there are no facilities on-site, Beach Operators should provide an explanation detailing any alternative arrangements which are in place for visitors.

Minor criteria

  • The Beach Operator must provide adequate parking facilities, and where appropriate, with suitable disabled access. Where necessary, advice should be sought from suitable organisations to develop traffic management plans.


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