The RNLI are reminding the public to check tide times before walking on the coast this weekend as the high spring tides reach a peak on Saturday and Sunday.
Spring tides happen twice every month throughout the year without regard to the season. During this time the earth, sun and moon are lined up in a row which results in a greater gravitational pull on the earth and meaning the oceans swell more than normal. This makes the high tides higher and the low tides lower than other days throughout the month.
The next high spring tides will peak this Saturday (17 October) and Sunday (October 18) and the charity are asking the public to be extra vigilant this weekend as the danger of being cut off by the fast-rising tide is greater than usual.
Last month volunteer lifeboat crews from West Kirby and Fleetwood were kept busy by the high spring tides. West Kirby RNLI volunteers were called out twice over the course of four days to groups of people cut off by the incoming tide as they visited Hilbre Island. One family were chest deep in water when they were rescued by the volunteers. Another group were local and had checked the tide times at the start of their walk but unfortunately had not left enough time to return to shore as the tide came in quicker than usual due to the spring tide.
But it’s not just people who find themselves in trouble on the coast; Fleetwood lifeboat crew were called out to rescue a dog which had been swept out by the fast-moving tide.
With a pleasant weekend forecasted across the North West, the RNLI predict a number of people will head to the coast to enjoy an autumnal walk. The charity urges the public to be careful and follow safety advice before heading out.
Chris Cousens, RNLI Regional Water Safety Lead said: “Before heading out to the coast it’s always important to check tide times – even more so this weekend with the high spring tides. Spring tides will make the high tides higher and they will also come in quicker. The danger in this is that people can get cut off quicker without even realising until it’s too late.
“That’s why we’re asking people to be extra vigilant this weekend when visiting the coast. Remember to check the tide times before you go but also keep an eye on your surroundings. If you’ve walked round to another cove at low tide, or walked around an outcrop of rocks, the water can soon block your way back as the tide turns. If the cove you’re in doesn’t have steps or access of its own, you could be in trouble.
“And some seemingly flat beaches can in fact have sandbanks and gulleys. If you are on a higher sandbank water from the incoming tide can come into the gulleys around you and cut you off.
“If you find yourself or spot others in trouble, call 999 and ask for the coastguard straight away. Stay calm and don’t try and wade through the water as this could be dangerous.”
For more information of how to stay safe on the coast this autumn, please visit the RNLI website: rnli.org.uk