Seafront safety advice for a Happy New Year

Seafront officers in Brighton & Hove are urging residents and visitors to stay safe on the seafront this winter.

The warning comes as the New Year approaches and the mild winter weather is drawing more people onto the beaches.

Don't drink and drown

“Brighton & Hove is a great place to celebrate and see in the New Year, but it’s easy to get carried away, particularly when drinking,” said seafront officer David Wheeler. 

Research indicates that more than a quarter of all adult drowning victims have alcohol and/or drugs in their bloodstream. Many of them drowned because they walked home alone and fell in the water.

“We advise groups to stick together, stay away from the sea and don’t take any risks,” added David. “Look out for your friends and make sure they get home safely.”

Advice for swimmers

The council is also advising swimmers against taking a New Year’s Day dip.

“As open water swimming has become more popular over the last few years, we are seeing more groups of swimmers gathering for winter swim sessions,” said seafront operations manager Chris Ingall.

“It is extremely important that those wishing to enjoy this invigorating and extreme form of free and healthy activity, fully understand the real dangers involved.

“Cold water sea swimming takes skill, stamina and knowledge of the physical dangers and should only be for the very experienced, using suitable wetsuits, in very calm conditions and with friends. Even on a calm day sea currents, unpredictable waves or a sudden change in weather can create life threatening hazards without warning. Even experienced swimmers can get caught out. “Check the conditions on the day and consider all those in the group, the sea will be there tomorrow, don’t take unnecessary risks, that could threaten your life or others trying to help!” 

Here to help

Chris added that the seafront team is always happy to advise swimmers on sea conditions. “We have constant updates on the weather conditions and would urge anyone wanting to swim to talk to us first.”

The seafront office 2020 tide timetables for the Brighton & Hove beaches should be available shortly. Information within the booklet also includes a map showing summer lifeguard stations and a list of seafront events.