Take care over passage plans: RNLI

The RNLI is issuing advice to all sailors and visitors to the coast between the 8 – 11 September, as unusually high tides have been forecast.

These unusually high tides are a national phenomenon, which are caused by planets lining up to increase the influence of the moon on our tides. Higher equinox tides make for stronger currents, much lower low waters and much higher high waters.

For the boater this means extra care in passage planning, and extra care when assessing the effect of tidal currents on progress. However, for coastal walkers who wouldn’t necessarily think to check the tides, this will be essential during the next few days.

Peter Chennell, RNLI Sea Safety Manager, explains that for those who do venture out to the coast, RNLI volunteer lifeboat crews and lifeguards recommend following some simple steps to help keep safe:

? ‘If you are viewing the weather from a coastal footpath remember that with these high tides you can be cut off in areas that are normally passable. Remember also to keep children and animals within reach.

? ‘Anyone sailing or participating in any type of watersport should always check the weather forecast and tides but this is of particular importance over the next few days, rather than the first or only day of their sailing as weather can sometimes sweep in faster than expected.

? ‘Our general advice for anyone thinking of going out on the water is to never put to sea with inadequate equipment or in a vessel unsuitable for the ensuing conditions, or indeed if you are inexperienced.’

Peter Dawes, RNLI Beach Safety Manager adds:

? ‘Although it will depend on other forces acting at the same time, a combination of high seas (big surf) and higher than normal tides can be quite devastating to the coastline in terms of erosion and can increase dangers in areas already prone to tidal cut offs and strong rip currents. In essence it acts as a ‘force multiplier’, we would urge people to take extra care and check with lifeguards to see if there are any local effects being experienced.’

Further beach and sea safety information can be found by logging on to the RNLI website, www.rnli.org.uk.