Please don’t let your family add to these dreadful statistics - Nigel Snowshall column

Nigel Snowshall of Exmouth Beach Rescue Club

Nigel Snowshall of Exmouth Beach Rescue Club - Credit: Archant

In his latest column, Nigel Snowshall, of Exmouth Beach Rescue Club, has urged families to make sure they are safe at the beach

When the weather is calm and the sun is shining, there is no better place than the beach and surrounding area to relax and enjoy ones free time.

Lately, many people have had rather more of this than usual and I suspect many have re-discovered their ‘old favourite’ local or not so local coastal retreat.

Hopefully, this will continue and our coastal economies, most of which rely heavily on tourism, will flourish with the new found benefits of the latest ‘staycation revolution’. However, like most outdoor activities, where the elements of nature can have an influence, we need to take extra care, expect the unexpected and be willing to alter our plans to suit. Just recently we have seen our ‘usual’ unseasonal weather patterns bringing torrential downpours and high winds to many of our coastal areas; recently coinciding with spring tides thrown into the mix. For many experienced ‘ocean dwellers’ these were perfect conditions to challenge themselves and with their experience and knowledge was quite safe to do so.

However, for some others, these conditions can be very dangerous and it never ceases to amaze me when I see families, often with very young children, playing a game of ‘catch me if you can’ with the large waves that break over the sea wall. I don’t think for one second those children would be encouraged to engage in a real round of ‘Russian Roulette’ but put simply, this is exactly what they are doing when dodging the waves.

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It is worth remembering that water 1m x 1m x 1m (one metre cubed) weighs a metric tonne or 1,000 kilograms; add the velocity (the speed the wave is moving) to this and the energy involved is colossal – well beyond that of a parent holding on to a small hand no matter how tight their grip.

Every year around our coastline we lose many people who are accidentally swept into the sea; in fact most drowning victims never intended to enter the water in the first place.

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Please, please, please don’t let one of your family become another one of these dreadful statistics.

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