Coastguards warn Islanders to check tides

From Jersey Coastguard
2nd June 2023

Jersey Coastguard is reminding islanders to check the tides before they head to areas of the coast where an incoming tide is liable to cut them off.

Jersey has one of the largest tidal ranges in the world, more than 12m on spring tides, and on the south-east coast, the tide can recede up to two miles. The incoming tide moves extremely fast and, in some places, will resemble a fast-flowing white water rapid.

Every year, coastguards respond to people cut off by the tide who need rescuing. The Coastguards’ annual report for 2022 showed that rescuing people cut off by the incoming tide was one of the most common emergency calls.  There were 23 such incidents, and they were identified as one of the biggest trends, with the majority taking place between 3pm and 5pm on a rising spring tide. There were an equal number of residents as visitors who were caught out, with most rescues on the south-east coast.

Coastguard Duty Officer, Phil Le Neveu, said: “Our coast is beautiful, and we are lucky to live somewhere that affords us so many maritime leisure activities. But it is important to respect the sea and to prepare thoroughly before heading to areas of the coast where the incoming tide moves particularly quickly. From this weekend, our sea-safety campaign is focusing on the dangers of incoming tides and rip currents, and we hope it will encourage Islanders to check the tides before heading to the beach.”

South-east coast
This area consists of rock outcrops, sandbanks, and gullies. On an incoming tide the gullies quickly fill with water and can leave you cut off by the tide. Anyone exploring this area should ideally have local knowledge, or be with someone knowledgeable, and should take into consideration the tide times.

You should be equipped with appropriate clothing and a method of communication such as a mobile phone or VHF radio, map and compass, in case visibility reduces. Don’t explore on your own, and make sure someone ashore knows your plans.

There is a metal framed refuge tower approximately halfway between Seymour Tower and shore. If you find yourself getting cut off by the tide, dial 999 and ask for the Coastguard, then seek higher ground such as the refuge tower.

Corbiere Causeway
The causeway to Corbiere Lighthouse is covered by an incoming tide extremely quickly. If you are unsure about the tide and conditions, don’t take the risk. The distance between the lighthouse and shore is around 300m, so allow up to 10 minutes to cross the causeway.

There is a warning siren that sounds when the causeway is about to cover. If you hear the siren, you should immediately make your way back from the lighthouse via the causeway, as the tide will cover the causeway imminently.

In an Emergency, dial 999 and ask for the Coastguard

Jersey Coastguard