Safety Spotlight - There's no such thing as bad weather. True or False?
The famous author, illustrator and walker Alfred Wainwright wrote ‘There’s no such thing as bad weather, only unsuitable clothing’. Many coastal lovers will feel that’s just not true. Bad weather is a very real ‘thing’ that increases the dangers of ‘safety slip ups’ around our coasts and with it, the need to take extra care.
Expect the unexpected
A long, cold, damp spring that’s showing no immediate signs of improvement means that cliffs are more unstable due to heavy rain, the ground is soft and muddy and rocks and pathways are slippery. And adding to the ‘danger mix’ are big tides, strong winds and waves which frequently mean long-buried ordnance (explosives) are exposed on our beaches.
It’s certainly true that in the last month, we’ve been involved in many incidents where an innocent walk turned into a slip, trip or fall as well as some unexpected discoveries.
Helicopter ride at Ravenscar
|Credit: Ravenscar, Scarborough and Burniston Coastguard Rescue Teams|
One Sunday afternoon earlier this month, a man who’d been walking near the base of the cliffs at Ravenscar in Yorkshire had an unscheduled ride in the search and rescue helicopter from Humberside.
He’d slipped and injured his ankle and when the Ravenscar and Scarborough and Burniston Coastguard Rescue Teams arrived, the route to lift to the top of the cliff using expert rope rescue techniques was just too risky. So the helicopter was sent to winch him to safety where he was met by Yorkshire Ambulance Service paramedics who took him to hospital.
The next day the man sent a thank you message:
"A big thank you to all who attended to me on Ravenscar beach yesterday. The speed and level of service was second to none. It’s reassuring to know when one has a remote accident you are there in a flash. Thank you again and keep up the good work."
|Credit: Padstow CRT|
A rock and a slip
Just a few days ago, a woman lost her footing on the wet, slippery rocks at Cornwall's Trevone Pool and injured her ankle.
Fortunately, the Padstow Lifeguards were there to give immediate first aid until our Padstow coastguard rescue team arrived to help.
They used a special 'caterpillar' rescue technique to carry the casualty to safety from the rocks and onwards to Treliske hospital.
If it looks wrong, it probably is
|Credit: Selsey Coastguard Rescue Team and EOD on the scene|
This week and after strong waves and tides, a strange looking rusty tube-shaped object was spotted at the water’s edge by two friends during an early morning walk at Pagham beach, near Portsmouth. A quick 999 call meant that the coastguard rescue teams from Selsey and Littlehampton were quickly dispatched to the scene, along with Sussex Police. The women kindly waited at a distance so they could point out the object’s location to the emergency services teams. A safety cordon was put in place to keep people away from the area until the Navy’s specialist EOD (Explosives Ordnance Division) arrived a few hours later and removed the item for safe disposal.
|Credit: Selsey Coastguard Rescue Team|
Expect the unexpected on the coast – True!
Apart from ‘bad weather’ you can always expect the unexpected around the coasts whether you’re a local or a visitor. A few simple safety precautions can help ensure you’ll enjoy the fresh sea air, whatever the weather and keep the risks to a minimum.
- Check tide times and weather before heading out
- Don’t get caught out by low temperatures or bad weather
- Take extra care when walking on rocks and near cliffs, stay well back from the edges and from the base of the cliffs. It only takes a second for heavy rocks and mud to slip and fall
- If you see something that looks like it doesn’t belong there, don’t touch it. Call 999 Coastguard
- Take pictures at a safe distance
- Keep your dog on a lead
- Know the dangers
- Take a fully charged mobile phone
- Make it home
- In an emergency call 999 and ask for the Coastguard.
Met office: https://www.metoffice.gov.uk/
RNLI safety: https://rnli.org/safety/know-the-risks/tides