Children warned of wave danger

SEA safety experts today warned children not to play with the waves as the Suffolk coast prepares for some of the highest tides of the year.Next week sees the equinoctial spring tides when the tides are forecast to rise by a metre.

SEA safety experts today warned children not to play with the waves as the Suffolk coast prepares for some of the highest tides of the year.

Next week sees the equinoctial spring tides when the tides are forecast to rise by a metre.

People living on Felixstowe seafront will be battening down the hatches, but providing the weather is calm and the winds stay offshore, there is not expected to be any problems.

Coastal engineers will be keeping a close eye on the south seafront, where work is currently taking place to strengthen the rock wall protecting the promenade.

Last time there were serious high tides gardens were flooded, sections of prom lifted and smashed, beach huts jumbled together, and flights of steps torn away and smashed.

However, with the high tides come exceptional low tides - and there should be a good opportunity to see the seaweed-topped remains of the old Roman Walton Castle at The Dip, Old Felixstowe.

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John Cresswell, chairman of the Felixstowe Volunteer Coast Patrol and Rescue Service, said he was disturbed last month when children were photographed and videoed playing chicken with the waves on the south prom.

“The cruel sea is correct and in 2000 there were 417 drownings in the UK of which 54 were children under the age of 16,” he said.

“Each year lives are lost by adults and young people being washed into the sea by large waves by accident of playing chicken.

“A survey carried out by the Maritime Coastguard Agency has shown that people are still unaware of the many dangers present by our coasts.

“An alarming three-quarters of people surveyed did not see strong tides, currents and large waves as a threat. Nearly all said they knew very little about the sea or its dangers.”

Mr Cresswell recalled seeing a father carrying a toddler playing chicken at Felixstowe - he said had they been knocked over by the wave and swept out their chances of survival would have been slim.

Large waves have a downward pressure of six tonnes.

The spring tides begin on Monday and reach their peak around Wednesday when the highest tides will be around midnight and midday, with low water about 6.30am and 7.30pm.

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