There have sadly been a number of tragic incidents recently where people have been swept out to sea at popular coastal spots around the British coast. The RNLI has also had a particularly busy time responding to call-outs from people needing to be rescued.
Although conditions for swimming in the UK are most favourable during the summer, sudden strong winds and storms can whip up the swell of water at any time of year, increasing the risk of swimmers, surfers and even coastal walkers getting into difficulty. Some of the recent unsettled coastal conditions are akin to those you would expect during autumn and winter, which has been taking summer holidaymakers by surprise.
Coastal agencies are advising beachgoers to check the weather conditions and tide times before taking a trip to the seaside, as conditions can change quickly. In a recent event at Falmouth, waves changed from half a metre in height to four metres in just 24 hours. Although it can seem tempting to head to the beach when unseasonal weather strikes to watch strong waves or take ‘storm selfies’, experts warn against this.
Even if you are not planning on taking a dip in the sea, it is still worth checking the weather conditions and tide times if you are intending to enjoy a coastal walk along the beach or a headland. Strong waves can cause unexpected swells that can catch walkers unawares; therefore, it is important to take caution and follow advise about the suitability of particular walking routes in various conditions. Statistics show that more than half of those who end up in difficulty at sea had no intention of going near the water but were swept off rocks or fell off paths or marinas and into the sea.