Stay safe on the seafront this Christmas

Seafront officers are urging residents, visitors and their families to stay safe and keep away from the sea this winter.

The warning comes as Christmas approaches and families head for the seafront and beaches.

Hold hands

The council's Seafront Operations Manager, Chris Ingall, said: “Everyone enjoys a bracing stroll on the promenade over the festive season, but we would urge people to stay on the path or high up on the beach, especially when the sea conditions are rough.

“Keep little ones close and hold their hands at all times when walking on the beaches. Large waves can easily knock people over, pulling them into the sea - the smaller the person the greater the risk!"

Dog owners are also urged to keep their pets on leads and away from the sea. The warning follows the tragic death of a residents and his beloved dog in January.

Advice for swimmers

We are once again taking extra measures to discourage swimmers from taking a Christmas Day dip by closing access to the beaches around Brighton Palace Pier.

Chris said: “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.”

“It's 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.”

Hidden dangers

Chris explained how the beach at Brighton & Hove differs from other south coast beaches and has hidden dangers. “Unlike many other beaches, where you can gradually enter the water, Brighton & Hove beach has a steep shingle slope making it difficult to leave and enter the water especially during the four hours over the high tide period.

“The combination of strong winds and steep shingle banks increases the risk of being swept out to sea. 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!” 

Happy to advise

Chris added that members the seafront team are 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.”

There's more information on the seafront pages of our website

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