Beware of tides and ‘jellyfish swarms’, beach visitors urged

The increased number of people visiting the Suffolk and Essex coast has prompted beach safety warnin

The increased number of people visiting the Suffolk and Essex coast has prompted beach safety warnings. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant

Tourists flocking to Suffolk and Essex’s coast in the sunny weather have been warned a stroll along the beach could prove fatal - if they do not heed urgent warnings about dangerous tides.

The RNLI has warned of the dangers of sea swimming and how to stay safe this spring. Picture: NATHAN

The RNLI has warned of the dangers of sea swimming and how to stay safe this spring. Picture: NATHAN WILLIAMS - Credit: RNLI

The hot Easter weekend saw hordes of families visit the region’s coastlines for a swim and to walk along the region vast swathes of open beaches.

As the evenings get lighter, the number of visitors is only expected to increase - as is the danger of people getting caught out by low tides quickly coming in at short notice, potentially leaving walkers stranded.

RNLI lifeboat stations across the two counties have also raised concerns about “jellyfish swarms” in the sea as part of their warnings.

Richard Wigley, spokesman for Clacton-On-Sea lifeboat station, warned that “things can turn quickly for any swimmer”.

He added: “It is always important to stay safe on the beach at any time of year.

“Try to always use a lifeguarded beach, or make sure you always have someone with you when you go swimming who can call for help in the event of danger.

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Mr Wigley added that no swimmers should go out of their depth. He also stressed the importance of beach safety flags.

“Never swim when there is a red flag flying,” he said. “They could be there for anything including strong currents or jellyfish swarms.”

The dangers of beach swimming were highlighted last year following the tragic death of 15-year-old Ben Quartermaine who got into difficulty while in the waters near Clacton pier.

Steve Saint, coxswain for Aldeburgh lifeboat station, said: “Even though it has been 24C, the sea temperature has only been averaging around 10C - which could also cause problems when people get cold.

“Forecasts have got much better over the years and people can now see them up to a week in advance which helps people plan their trip.

“If people have any concerns for their own or others’ safety, the station is open every day to lend a helping hand.”

In addition to guidance for swimmers, the RNLI also stresses the danger of UV rays and skin cancer, suggesting that sun cream should be regularly reapplied.

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