Assess all the risks before taking to the water

PUBLISHED: 17:00 12 March 2020

Nigel Snowshall of Exmouth Beach Rescue Club

Nigel Snowshall of Exmouth Beach Rescue Club


Guest columnist Nigel Snowshall, of Exmouth Beach Rescue Club, recommends taking personal flares with you when enjoying watersport activities.

One of the great things about Exmouth - and especially the beach - is no matter what the weather and, up to a point, the sea conditions, there is always an activity that can be enjoyed and a plentiful supply of individuals eager to partake.

Whether it's for surfing, windsurfing or kitesurfing, our beach attracts a vast quantity of 'winter warriors', both locals and visitors, who wait in anticipation for the next period of what most people term 'bad weather' to create the conditions they crave.

It's good to see the spectacle of colour and dynamic acrobatics of the more accomplished as they're challenged by the elements and push themselves to pull off that 'signature move' more times than not.

However, participation in any water activity during poor weather is not without risk, and a recent incident dealt with by Exmouth Beach Rescue Club highlighted the danger.

A visiting windsurfer, having difficulties a considerable distance from shore, was lucky to be spotted by members of the public, minutes before being blown out of sight.

The individual had been caught out by a 'perfect storm' of an outgoing spring tide, strong north westerly winds and heavy seas; to make matters worse, he only had a mobile phone as a means to summon help.

The club's rescue boat was launched, arriving on scene in minutes and returned the uninjured casualty and his equipment to shore.

It is vital for anyone undertaking activities on the sea to check the conditions thoroughly. Tides can play a major part, as can wind strength and direction. If you do not have a marine band VHF radio, you should not rely solely on mobile phones as a method to call for help.

For activities like windsurfing, kite surfing or kayaking, personal flares are recommended especially if you venture out alone.

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