Felixstowe Ferry: Swim safety signs are adequate, say officials

COUNCIL officials say there are enough safety signs warning people not to swim in one of the county’s most treacherous estuaries.

Four people had to be rescued at Felixstowe Ferry – two of them children aged 12 and 14 who copied two adults – when they got into difficulties swimming across to Bawdsey.

A Suffolk Coastal spokesman said staff at the resort promote a safe swimming message.

“We have three warning signs up along Felixstowe Ferry which were there the last time we carried out our quarterly safety visit,” he said.

“We have not been informed of any particular problems there, but if the view of the coastguard is that there needs to be more signs or information, then of course we will review the situation and see if more needs to be done.”

Assistant harbourmaster at Felixstowe Ferry Stephen Read, who constantly monitors the estuary, frequently moving the navigation buoys to ensure safety for sailors, said the fast-moving currents were the hidden hazards of the river mouth.

“What we have at the Ferry is quite a large river and on ebb tide a large volume of water coming out of the river through a narrow entrance,” he said.

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“It does speed up there as it goes over the bar and the currents can be very fast.”

The shingle bar and other sandbanks along the golf links are always moving, changing shape, single tides capable of moving thousands of tonnes of material, altering the path of the deep water and the movement of the currents.

Swimmers, sailboarders, dinghy owners, yachtsmen, canoeists and kitesurfers have all come to grief in the estuary.

“We would strongly advise people not to swim there – it is very difficult and too dangerous. Even experienced sailors get in-to trouble,” said Mr Read.

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