1 July 2015

Hard-hitting films highlight dangers of Brighton & Hove beaches

The first in a series of short films to highlight the most common dangers on Brighton and Hove beaches is being unveiled today (1 July) ahead of the city’s busy summer period.

The hard-hitting films tackle the three most common causes and target ‘high risk’ groups identified by Brighton & Hove City Council’s seafront team.

Those are people getting into trouble after consuming drink or drugs; playing games such as ‘chicken’ to dare friends to jump into the water as well as small children whose parents may not appreciate how quickly children or toddlers can get dragged under water.

The short films have been produced following three deaths so far this year on the city’s beaches. The city’s beaches are very different from others along the British coast as they have steep shingle that makes entering and exiting hazardous.

Brighton & Hove’s coastline is also exposed to wind and waves from the southeast, south and south west, and this can create extremely dangerous wave conditions on the shoreline. When this is combined with steep shingle banks, those close to the water’s edge are in danger of being swept out into powerful sea conditions, with little chance of making it back onto dry land.  

The films employ different styles from glossy advertising quality film, mobile phone footage to action GoPro style to appeal to separate audience groups.  Targeted at a wide YouTube audience, it’s hoped that each video will be shared using Facebook, Twitter and other social media.

The films aim to educate those identified by the city’s seafront team as being ‘high risk’ groups.  Those are:

Toddlers to 10 year old, that have no knowledge of the dangers, but have a fascination with the sea and beach environment. If these children are not well supervised by parents/carers they can soon wander close to the water’s edge and be swept out by the most innocent of waves. This film aims to alert parents/carers to remain close to, and supervise their children at all times
Groups of kids / teenagers that play chicken with the sea during periods of large waves and strong winds. The fun and thrill can turn to tragedy within seconds.
Day and night time drinkers approximately 18 -25 years old. The mix of alcohol and sea swimming is the most deadly of cocktails with cold water acting as a shock to the system. The shock can be the precursor to drowning. Anything below 15oC is defined as cold water and can seriously affect your breathing and movement.

Brighton’s reputation as a party city along with day and night time drinking also creates the additional hazard of seafront users entering the water after consuming alcohol. This is one of the biggest factors when we look at drowning incidents across the UK, especially within the male age group from 18 – 25 years old.        

Brighton & Hove City Council Culture Committee deputy chair Alan Robins said:

“Every death is a tragedy so it’s right that we do everything we can to educate those high risk groups about the dangers of our beaches.  We have beaches that have lifeguards during key times but it’s not possible to cover every inch around the clock all year round so we have to take a more proactive approach.

“We have to communicate with people where they get their information and entertainment so these films are hard-hitting and distributed through YouTube so we hope people will share them across Facebook and Twitter.

“Brighton & Hove has an enviable reputation as a seaside resort loved by millions each year. Whether it’s a local young resident, a visiting hen or stag party or a family with toddlers visiting on a bank holiday from London,  we want everyone to have a fantastic and safe time on our beaches.”

The films were commissioned by the Brighton & Hove City Council’s public health team and produced by local independent filmmaker See That.

Watch the first film here