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Wind and wave safety – MCA top 5 tips

20 November 2019
Autumn is well and truly here and the Isle of Wight has had its fair share of stormy weather recently, with more undoubtedly to come. 

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) has asked people to take extra care and be ‘wind and wave safe’ during bad weather when the combination of high tides, strong winds, sea swells along our coastlines, and unpredictable waves can easily catch people out.

During storms, the MCA advises you to keep well away from breaking waves, harbour walls, piers and jetties, keep well back from cliff edges, and follow these tips for wind and wave safety: 

1. Selfies: It’s not worth risking your life for ‘that selfie’. Keep off groynes, piers, jetties and harbour walls. Big waves can knock you over in a flash. If you can feel the spray, you’re too close.

2. Wave dodging: playing ‘dares’ with waves is dangerous in the best of weathers. Rocks and walls can be slippery, often there’s nothing to grab hold of if you’re caught off balance and rogue waves and strong currents can sweep you out to sea in seconds.

3. Doggie don’ts: do keep your canine friends close and on leads if you’re out on the cliffs or the coast. You never know when an ‘interesting’ smell or meeting another dog can lead to trouble. If your dog gets stuck or trapped, call the Coastguard for help.

4. Cliff crises: avoid a crisis on the cliffs by staying well away from the edges, especially in windy conditions when you and your children are at risk of being caught off balance. During and after bad weather, cliff faces are especially unstable and landslides and rock falls are common.

5. Keep in touch: keep a note of tide times so you don’t get trapped and take a fully charged mobile (ideally with a location or ‘find me’ app) so you can call for help if things go wrong. Let someone know where you’re going and when you’ll be back.

If you or anyone is in trouble on the coast, don’t delay calling for help. It’s better to be safe than sorry. Call 999 and ask for the Coastguard.

Current weather and forecasts are available in the CHC Weather & Tides section.

Top photo: Sheena Louise in rough weather off Egypt Point, outside Cowes Harbour © Nick Edwards / Cowes RNLI

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