Islanders warned to watch out for incoming tide

From Jersey Coastguard
12th April 2024

Jersey Coastguard and the States of Jersey Fire and Rescue Service (SJFRS) are reminding Islanders to check the tides before they head to coastal areas. In the last four weeks, 13 people have been rescued from Elizabeth Castle, Green Island and the south-east coast.

In 2023 Coastguard coordinated responses to 13 such incidents, during which 22 people were helped to shore. This year there have already been eight incidents involving 19 people.

Coastguard and VTS Manager Dan Downey said: “Jersey has one of the largest tidal ranges in the world, more than 12 metres on spring tides. On the south-east coast the incoming tide moves extremely fast and can resemble a fast-flowing white water rapid. We were pleased to see just 13 people cut off by the tide last year rather than 23 in 2022, but the figures so far this year are worrying.

“We coordinate an excellent array of search and rescue assets who can get to the danger areas quickly, but we want people to take a little more care and prepare themselves before heading to the coastal areas.”

Anyone venturing out to Elizabeth Castle should check the information on Ports of Jersey Website. This advises on the time the causeway closes for pedestrians to avoid getting cut off by the incoming tide. Over the last three days alone, SJFRS has assisted in rescuing 3 people who have been cut off by the tide while at the castle. The walk across may seem short, but it is more than 1km long so plan for at least 15 minutes to get across.

SJFRS Station Commander, Craig Channing, said: “While we don’t want to put people off making the most of the fantastic coastline Jersey has to offer, the incoming tidal speed, especially around the southeast coast during large tides, can catch unwary explorers out. This means you can get cut off by the tide extremely quickly.

“We encourage anyone heading out this weekend to plan their trip carefully, let someone know their plans and always take a means of contacting the Emergency Services.”

Dan Downey added: “We all enjoy taking part in coastal activities, whether that be beachcombing, low water fishing or strolling along the sand. But it is important to respect the sea and to prepare thoroughly before heading to areas where the incoming tide moves so quickly. We recommend anyone heading to these areas should check the tide tables and tell someone where they are going.”

In 2023 Coastguard officers delivered sea safety messages to 3,500 primary school children and visited more than 60% of primary schools. This year the team is working with Love Theatre to use a specially written play as an interactive way to share important sea safety information.

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 consult the tide times.

You should be equipped with appropriate clothing and take 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