RNLI issues safety advice ahead of Spring tides and bank holiday

RNLI Photo Frank Leppard

Safety advice is being issued by the RNLI as the bank holiday weekend approaches and Spring tides are due.

The rescue service is appealing to people to check tide times and to keep away from cliff edges and bases which can collapse due to erosion. In February there were cliff falls in Kingsgate and along a stretch from Epple Bay to Minnis Bay and West Bay.

The Ramsgate and Margate crews are also often called out to rescue people who have been cut off by the tide.

Cut off by the tide Photo Margate RNLI

Guy Addington, RNLI Water Safety lead for the South East region, said: “RNLI lifeboats around the coast are ready to respond to emergency situations, but we are urging people to think very carefully about beach safety before setting off on a coastal walk, especially during the big spring tides.

“At Ramsgate, we often get call outs for people walking around our coast, in particular the Stone Bay to Joss Bay stretch.

“The tide comes in and out twice in each 24-hour period, and while tide times can be accurately predicted, they vary at each location and change each day. A beach or coastal area may appear a safe place for a walk, but incoming tide can quickly leave you stranded.

Photo Ian Lockyer

“On bigger tides like we will see in the coming days, places will be cut off by the tide quicker than normal and places usually unaffected by the tide may also be cut off. That’s why checking the weather and tides using a trusted online source, like the Ramsgate RNLI Facebook page for Ramsgate and Broadstairs, or any other tidal prediction app before setting off is advised.”

The RNLI safety advice includes:

• Visit a lifeguarded beach where possible and swim between the red and yellow flags – find your nearest at rnli.org.uk/lifeguarded beaches
• Wherever you are, check the weather forecast, tide times and read local hazard signage to understand local risks
• Take a means of communication with you
• If you fall into the water unexpectedly, FLOAT TO LIVE. Fight your instinct to thrash around, lean back, extend your arms and legs, and float
• In an emergency dial 999 and ask for the Coastguard.

Rock fall at Kingsgate Photos Richard and Anna Harrison

Guy added: “We are also advising anyone using their local coastline for exercise to keep well away from cliff edges and bases. Chalk cliffs are subject to erosion, can be unstable and can collapse without warning.

“These can be very dangerous for anyone standing near the edge or underneath them. Please admire the coastal views from a safe distance, and once again, if you get into difficulty or see someone else in difficulty, always dial 999 and ask for the Coastguard.”

1 Comment

  1. Just for clarity, so-called “spring tides” occur twice a month, not just in the spring. They depend on the alignment on the sun and moon. When these two are in line, we get higher high tides and lower low tides than at other times.
    Other factors, such as wind direction and air pressure, also have an effect on tides.

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