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Coastal Rescue in France

featured in Health and emergency guide Updated

There are various services in France that look after your safety whilst you are on the beach or out at sea.

In an emergency you can contact the Riviera Medical Services by telephone, to locate English speaking medical practitioners on the French Riviera.

How the system works

Blue Flag Beaches

Awarded independently by the FEE (Foundation for Environmental Education) to beaches or marinas in over 48 countries worldwide. Each beach or marina are judged on various criteria including safety, which covers lifeguards and first aid.

On a Blue Flag beach you can be assured of -

  • An adequate number of lifeguards and/or lifesaving equipment
  • First aid equipment available on the beach
  • Management of beach users and events to prevent conflicts and accidents
  • Safety measures in place to protect beach users
  • A supply of drinking water

Gendarmerie Maritime

In addition to lifeguards being available on certain beaches there are also Police Lifeguards who patrol a third of the French coastline.

French Coastguard - Societe Nationale de Sauvetage en Mer

The SNSM, French Coastguard, operate to save lives at sea, to prevent risks and to bring relief as soon as possible to any person in danger.

Under their authority, CROSS (Centres régionaux opérationnels de surveillance et de secours) coordinate rescue operations at sea.

If you are at sea then using the radio is the most appropriate means of communication - channel 16 VHF. The radio is always preferable to a mobile phone as it provides a more detailed location.

Who to call & when

In event of an emergency you can call the European Emergency Service number 112.

Riviera Medical Services: 04 93 26 12 70

SOS Medecins specific numbers in the South of France -

  • Nice: 08 10 85 01 01
  • Cannes: 08 25 00 50 04
  • Antibes: 04 97 21 70 70
  • Menton: 04 93 41 41 41

Coast Guard specific numbers in the South of France -

  • Cross Guard (Mediterranean): 04 94 61 16 16
  • Sub-Cross Aspretto (Corsica) :04 95 20 13 63


Map of the surrounding area