Guide to Safe & Responsible Rockpooling

When visiting the rocky shore, you may be exposed to a range of risks and hazards. Follow this simple guide to protect yourself as well as the marine environment during your visit.

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  • Before heading out onto the rocky shore, always check tide times to ensure you don’t get stranded by rising water.

  • Always tell someone where you are planning on going before heading onto the shore. If an emergency should occur while you are out, ring 999 and ask for the coastguard.

  • Dress for the weather and wear tough waterproof footwear. Avoid bare feet as rocks and shells can be sharp.

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  • Avoid trampling on delicate plants and animals; try and stick to bare rocks. However remember – wet rocks are slippery rocks, so take extra care in wet conditions or just after a high tide.

  • When exploring the rockpools, take care to avoid damaging plants and animals, as well as their habitats.

  • If you have swept seaweed aside, always place it back to avoid leaving plants and animals underneath exposed and at risk of drying out.

  • Be cautious when lifting boulders and cobbles, as if dropped they could crush the delicate animals living underneath and on the underside of the rock. Always turn rocks back over to prevent animals drying out. 

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  • Leave sessile animals attached to rocks, as species such as anemones and limpets may not survive if removed.

  • If placing animals into a container, ensure there is enough water inside it and replace water regularly as animals can use up oxygen rapidly.

  • Avoid putting more than one crab in each container as they can be very territorial and may fight each other.

  • Don’t keep animals in containers for more than 10 minutes and always put them back in the same area you collected them from. Never take items away from the shore as they cannot survive away from the marine environment.

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  • Leave seaweed attached to rocks in place, as it can take many years to grow back and may be home to other plants and animals.

  • Please take your litter home with you, or place it in a nearby rubbish bin.