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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.

Wind Surfing

The disadvantages for sailors are a boon to wind surfers. When a strong sou-wester is blowing, many wind surfers are usually to be seen.

Surfing is from both beaches, with the local surf club often using Seamill Lane Beach.

Rescue facilities

There is an RNLI inshore lifeboat station at St Bees.