Staying safe in coastal areas

There are many hidden hazards to be aware of when near the coast. Open water swimming should never be done alone, and the currents around beaches must be understood to ensure safe swimming. Riptides can pull you under and fighting against them can exhaust swimmers to the point of drowning. Knowledge of these currents would ensure you know how to act in this situation; relax and let the current move you to calmer waters. 

Strong currents can pull swimmers away from shore or push towards dangerous areas. The possibility of fast currents moving you towards craggy shorelines is made worse by the possibility of rocky shallows being obscured or discarded debris sitting on the seabed which can cause injury. Debris can also be carried along with the surf and come crashing down on you with a wave. Surfers and boaters likewise must be accounted for; signals are often placed around to indicate which areas of the water are reserved for respective activities.

Marker flags or buoys can also indicate weather-specific precautions. If in doubt speak to a lifeguard or someone with local knowledge to understand the risks.

Warmer waters are usually associated with dangerous sea life, however even here in the UK there are Jellyfish that can give life-threatening stings. 

Walking around the coast doesn’t mean you can turn your mind off to danger. Cliffs are by nature in a constant state of erosion and can make edges unsafe to walk on. Some areas which are passable at low tide, may become blocked off by the rising tide and put you at risk of becoming stranded. Inadequate thermal protection can then make the situation worse with hypothermia becoming a factor. Always travel prepared and well informed, preferably not alone and at least with others notified about your hiking route.

beautiful sea image

2021-02-18 at 2:21 pm

Author: Pete Davies

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