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St Bees has a mile long sweep of sand leading to the rocks of the red sandstone St Bees Heads. There is a large tidal range, and the tide can recede 400 metres from the shingle. The prevailing wind is from the south west. Only if the wind is offshore or from the North, is there any protection in rough weather. This has advantages for some, and not for others.

There is public access to the beaches at Seacote and Seamill, and there is a concrete slip at the Seacote beach, but this is only covered at high tide. This slip and its immediate access road should be vacated immediately after launching/retrieving to allow lifeboat access. The sand is firm enough for easy towing of towing/launching trolleys with four wheel drive vehicles.

Vehicles and launching trolleys must be returned to car park and launching ramp kept clear at all times for the lifeboat.


Heavy surf conditions bring out the surf canoeists, and because of the gradual shelf, the surf extends a long way out.

Cruising canoeists come in milder conditions, and a trip to the spectacular Fleswick Bay or to Whitehaven is a usual expedition. Fleswick Bay is not accessible by road, so this must be a round trip.

Rescue facilities

There is an RNLI inshore lifeboat station at St Bees.