3 August 2016

‘Don’t drink alcohol and swim’ plea from seafront team

Brighton & Hove City Council’s seafront team is calling on residents and visitors to stay vigilant about sea safety during the summer season and to avoid swimming if they have consumed alcohol.

The appeal follows an incident where lifeguards had to use all their expertise and courage to save the lives of two people who had gone into heavy seas after drinking alcohol.

The council’s lead member for the seafront, Councillor Alan Robins, said: “Our lifeguards have once again shown their incredible professionalism and bravery in an incident that could so easily have been avoided.

“Please be sensible, stay safe and don’t put your life and their lives at risk unnecessarily by swimming after drinking alcohol.

“It is never safe to go into the sea after drinking alcohol. Even a small amount of alcohol can speed up the onset of hypothermia.

“Drinking also reduces your capabilities and perceptions. You may also think you are a better swimmer than your true ability and take unnecessary risks.

“We’re keen to remind people to swim within the areas patrolled by our lifeguards. These are clearly marked with red and yellow flags.

“Entering the sea during or after strong winds and large waves is extremely dangerous. Brighton & Hove’s shoreline has steeply shelving beaches, which in turn create heavy and powerful waves right on the beach edge.

“These waves and shingle banks make getting out of the sea extremely difficult, and what seemed like a quick swim can turn into a life threatening incident within seconds. The sea is unforgiving for even the most experienced swimmer.

“Even on a calm day sea currents, undertow or a sudden change in weather can create life threatening hazards without warning.

“The sea temperature can also be deceptive and can cause people’s body temperature quickly – and sometimes fatally.”

Anyone with a pre-existing medical condition or taking medication runs additional risks by subjecting their body to a sudden drop of temperature by entering the sea.

Please visit www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/seasafety for further information about sea safety.