Charity urges public to be vigilant of high spring tides this weekend

Lifeboats News Release

The RNLI are reminding the public to check tide times before walking on the coast this weekend as the high spring tides reach a peak on Saturday and Sunday.

Spring tides happen twice every month throughout the year without regard to the season. During this time the earth, sun and moon are lined up in a row which results in a greater gravitational pull on the earth and meaning the oceans swell more than normal. This makes the high tides higher and the low tides lower than other days throughout the month.

The next high spring tides will peak this Saturday (17 October) and Sunday (October 18) and the charity are asking the public to be extra vigilant this weekend as the danger of being cut off by the fast-rising tide is greater than usual.

Last month volunteer lifeboat crews from West Kirby and Fleetwood were kept busy by the high spring tides. West Kirby RNLI volunteers were called out twice over the course of four days to groups of people cut off by the incoming tide as they visited Hilbre Island. One family were chest deep in water when they were rescued by the volunteers. Another group were local and had checked the tide times at the start of their walk but unfortunately had not left enough time to return to shore as the tide came in quicker than usual due to the spring tide.

But it’s not just people who find themselves in trouble on the coast; Fleetwood lifeboat crew were called out to rescue a dog which had been swept out by the fast-moving tide.

With a pleasant weekend forecasted across the North West, the RNLI predict a number of people will head to the coast to enjoy an autumnal walk. The charity urges the public to be careful and follow safety advice before heading out.

Chris Cousens, RNLI Regional Water Safety Lead said:

‘Before heading out to the coast it’s always important to check tide times – even more so this weekend with the high spring tides. Spring tides will make the high tides higher and they will also come in quicker. The danger in this is that people can get cut off quicker without even realising until it’s too late.

‘That’s why we’re asking people to be extra vigilant this weekend when visiting the coast. Remember to check the tide times before you go but also keep an eye on your surroundings. If you've walked round to another cove at low tide, or walked around an outcrop of rocks, the water can soon block your way back as the tide turns. If the cove you're in doesn't have steps or access of its own, you could be in trouble.

‘And some seemingly flat beaches can in fact have sandbanks and gulleys. If you are on a higher sandbank water from the incoming tide can come into the gulleys around you and cut you off.

‘If you find yourself or spot others in trouble, call 999 and ask for the coastguard straight away. Stay calm and don’t try and wade through the water as this could be dangerous.’

For more information of how to stay safe on the coast this autumn, please visit the RNLI website: rnli.org.uk.


RNLI media contact

For more information contact Eleri Roberts, RNLI Regional Media Officer on 07771 941390 or email Eleri_Roberts@rnli.org.uk. Alternatively contact the RNLI Press Office on 01202 336789 or email PressOffice@rnli.org.uk.

Key facts about the RNLI

The RNLI charity saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service around the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland coasts. The RNLI operates over 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and, in a normal year, more than 240 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK and Channel Islands. The RNLI is independent of Coastguard and government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824, its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved over 142,700 lives.

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Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries

Members of the public may contact the RNLI on 0300 300 9990 (UK) or 1800 991802 (Ireland) or by email.