High tides and high jinks don't mix

WAVE dodgers playing chicken with the spectacular high tides crashing onto Felixstowe's beaches are putting their lives at risk, it was warned today.Coastguards have been patrolling seafront and warning parents and children to stay away from the sea after seeing people of all ages standing close to the shore and then running away as the waves break on the beach and prom.

By Richard Cornwell

WAVE dodgers playing chicken with the spectacular high tides crashing onto Felixstowe's beaches are putting their lives at risk, it was warned today.

Coastguards have been patrolling seafront and warning parents and children to stay away from the sea after seeing people of all ages standing close to the shore and then running away as the waves break on the beach and prom.

In one incident parents were seen encouraging their children to play chicken with the sea, and coastguards spoke to a man taking part holding a baby.


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In another incident, around 30 youngsters attending a show at the Spa Pavilion were seen during the interval yesterday to run in and out of the surf.

"I spoke to a man holding a baby in his arms, getting close to the waves and then running back, and I told him of the danger but he didn't want to know," said Jo Arlow, Coastguard sector manager.

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"He thought it was quite funny and was not interested in what I was saying. I was a bit shocked that someone could just carry on after being warned and have no concept of the danger.

"These waves are spectacular but we would just say to people, stand well back and watch. Otherwise you are taking part in a dangerous past-time.

"If a wave was to catch someone, they would be gone. They would be sucked beneath the sea, the undercurrent would take them and they wouldn't be seen again – even if they surfaced, we would have little chance of saving them."

John Cresswell, chairman of the Felixstowe Volunteer Coast Patrol and Rescue Service, said he had seen a man teaching his young children to wave dodge as the sea came onto the prom in Undercliff Road East.

"Every time the large waves with their heavy undertow receded, the adult would run to the prom edge with his youngsters in hand and then quickly run back just before another large wave came thundering ashore and onto the prom," he said.

"Most wave dodgers suffer only a good soaking, but earlier this year several people were dragged out to sea at south coast resorts and four of them were presumed drowned as their bodies were never recovered."

He estimated that large waves can have a downward thrust of six tonnes.

n Details of incidents around the country's coasts will be handed out to visitors to 999 day being staged at Felixstowe on Sunday .

The coastguards will be at the event, on Pier Bight outside the leisure centre from midday to 5pm, giving out safety advice and talking about their work, along with fire service, police, dock fire and rescue, and St John Ambulance.

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