October half term is a great time to dig out the kids’ wellies and head down to the beach for a stroll. It’s great for taking your boat out for one last spin before the winter, or for making the most of the school holidays and teaching your children to fish.
The only problem is, it can also be a dangerous time of the year to be beside the sea if you are not taking care. The British autumn can bring with it some stormy conditions, not to mention high tides and strong winds (see our recent report on unsettled conditions warning from coastguards). It is also the time when most beaches are without any sort of safety cover; the lifeguards have packed their binoculars up for the season and the onus is firmly on you to keep yourself and your family from harm.
It is essential that you check the forthcoming weather conditions using a reliable source, particularly if you are heading out onto the sea, and knowing your tide times is vital, whether you are strolling the sands or windsurfing the waves. You want to remember the half term holidays for having fun with the children, and not for getting cut off by the tide and having to be rescued by the coastguard.
Making sure you know and understand the conditions is also important if you are heading somewhere new for a break. You may be heading off to relax but that doesn’t mean you can leave your responsibilities behind. Make sure you get to grips with whatever area you are in, whether you need to know about dangerous sand bars, the strength of currents or where you’re likely to get stranded with your fishing rod.
Make sure you always take a mobile telephone with you when you head out to the beach or on the sea, and dial 999 for the coastguard if you spot someone else in trouble.