Coastguard warning to check tides

From Jersey Coastguard
4th January 2024

Jersey Coastguard is warning Islanders to take care when walking on the beach at low tide, especially in areas around the southeast coast of the Island.

On Saturday (30 Dec) two people had to be rescued by the Fire Service’s inshore rescue boat when they were cut off by the tide when returning from Seymour Tower. They made a 999 call at 17:19, by which time they were thigh-deep in water and unable to reach the shore due to the rising tide. Coastguards advised the pair to walk back to higher ground, then called out the Fire and Rescue service, the RNLI St Catherine’s inshore lifeboat and the St Helier all-weather boat.

The stranded walkers were located 0.5 nautical miles east-south-east of La Rocque, via a phone compass app. The Fire and Rescue Service boat launched from Seymour slip and the Coastguard asked the couple to shine their mobile phone torches towards the shore to help rescuers to find them in the dark. The St Catherine’s inshore lifeboat made its way towards the north of their location as a backstop, while the St Helier ALB was mobilising in case a larger scale search and rescue effort was needed.

The two walkers were located, safe and well, and were brought back to shore by the Fire and Rescue Service.

Duty Officer, Phil Le Neveu, said: “It is important to check the tide times and weather forecast before setting off on your walk, as the tide on the Southeast corner moves quickly and covers lower lying areas closer to shore before the outermost areas, due to the gutters that run between the reefs. It is often not obvious that you have been cut off until it is too late.

“If you find you are becoming cut off, there is a refuge tower approximately halfway between Seymour tower and the shore, and you should raise the alarm by dialling 999 and asking for the Coastguard.

“This couple were out in the dark in poor weather, and misjudged the time required to return to shore. They did the right thing when they called us, as if they had ended up in the water, locating them would have been difficult and they could have begun to suffer the effects of cold-water shock.”

Safety advice – Walking and exploring our coastline | Ports of Jersey

Cold Water Shock information – What is Cold Water Shock and what can you do | Ports of Jersey

Jersey Coastguard