Tuesday 19 June 2018

It's summer.

This is my favourite piece of our coastline.  It's not the best beach, it's not the most rugged scenery, it's not the best surf.  But it is a piece of coastline I have swam from, kayaked from, walked along and sailed past for many years.  I love it.  But there are things here that can cause you problems, just like any other stretch of coastline.
I was pondering this place, and incidents when I have worked with the Coastguard, Royal Navy and Cornwall Rescue Group when I came across this on our Force internet page: 

"In 2017 there were 19 coast-related deaths in Cornwall. #CoastSafe  aims to ensure that you, a family member or friend don’t become one of this year’s statistics
Recent deaths have included:
  • A father and his two-year-old daughter died after being swept into the sea in rapidly changing weather conditions. They had been fishing on rocks at Fistral Beach, Newquay when a large wave knocked them into the water.
  • A holidaymaker drowned whilst trying to rescue his dog at Porthmellon near Mevagissey.
  • Another man drowned whilst looking for his dog at Dunderhole Point, Tintagel. It is thought he may have lost his footing and fallen into the sea.
  • A swimmer drowned whilst in the sea at Perranporth Beach.
  • A man died after getting into difficulties while swimming off Porthcressa beach on St Mary’s in the Isles of Scilly.
  • Three surfers died after getting trapped in a rip current at Mawgan Porth, near Newquay.
  • A man lost his life when a scuba diving trip went wrong at Portholland.
  • A holidaymaker got caught in a rip current at Crantock
  • Two brothers who were fishing off rocks in the Newquay area got swept into the sea and drowned."

Now that's pretty grim reading, I know.  So what I would recommend as the antidote to the negative feelings it evokes, is a read of the advice here  #CoastSafe  . I always feel more positive if I know I can do something to avoid the bad things in life.

I recon this really is good advice and the skilled amateurs, professional athletes, military and emergency service personnel I have spoken to about stuff like this all seem to say the same thing.

And for those who are going to be a little more adventurous in your water sports, as well as making sure you have the right kit, it's worth bearing these four things in mind too:

  • Know what the weather is now and what it will be.  Read the weather forecast.  I use the Met Office Mobile Weather app for its Inshore Forecast.
  • Know what the tides are doing.  The water goes in and out as well as up and down, often much quicker than we expect and quicker than we can swim.   Again I use one of the free apps on my phone.  It's so much easier that the Admiralty Tide Tables and secondary port calculations I used to do in the Navy.
  • Tell someone what you are doing, where you are going and when you should be back. And please don't forget to tell them when you are back.  It saves a concerned call to us or the coastguard.
  • Take something with you so you can call for help.  There are some pretty good waterproof options for mobile phones now, or some cheap(ish) VHF radios if such is your interest.
    I promise you I will be doing all of these things to keep myself and my family safe when I'm next spending time at the coast or out in my boat.

    Well that's it from me, and I wish you safe, enjoyable and simply great adventures this summer.



    PS.  Please do drive safely and be kind and honest.