Off to enjoy the beach? Take care of yourselves as the seasons change
PUBLISHED: 16:02 23 October 2019 | UPDATED: 16:25 23 October 2019
Exmouth Journal guest columnist Nigel Snowshall advises us to take some simple safety precautions when using the beach during the winter months.
Like many, I can't help looking forward to this time of year when the busy summer season is over and you can breathe a sigh of relief at the prospect of a few less-frantic months.
Winter walks along the beach are always popular, often accompanied by the family pooch.
With the dog ban lifted, the beach sometimes looks like a canine version of a school playground at lunchtime with dogs of all description letting off steam as they celebrate having their favourite playground re-opened.
Some of the hardy locals still enjoy their daily swim and, despite the conditions being a bit rough at times, the water is still quite warm to the regular sea swimmer.
However, the changes in the weather and general conditions can present their own issues; cliffs can become destabilised by heavy rain and eroded at their base by the forceful wave action.
Water quality can be adversely affected by run-off from inland areas washing down our rivers into the ocean and larger waves can pose a significant risk to people such as anglers enjoying their chosen pastime on rocks around headlands and other secluded spots.
Enjoy the beach and ocean environment during the winter, but take some simple precautions.
Check the local weather forecast and, if relevant, the inshore waters forecast before you go.
Check the local water quality information before undertaking any water-based activities.
Keep a safe distance from the top and base of any cliffs.
Always let someone know where you are going (even if it's your favourite, secret fishing spot...), what time you intend to be back and try to keep in regular contact, especially if on your own.
Always have means by which you can call for help in an emergency. Always wear appropriate PPE for the environment you are in and the activity you are undertaking.