New signs warn of Birnbeck danger as RNLI call-outs match total from 2017
PUBLISHED: 08:00 02 August 2018
Weston RNLI has been called out as many times in the first seven months of 2018 as it was in the whole of last year.
The charity is particularly concerned by the number of people walking over to Birnbeck Island at low tide, and then getting cut off this year.
North Somerset Council has installed new signs to warn of the dangers of the strong currents and fast-moving tides.
A Weston RNLI spokesman said: “We are delighted the council has put them up, but our only concern is people are still ignoring them.
“We have had eight shouts to the island this year so far.
“They all went over at low water, when the cassie (the shingle bank) shows as a ribbon of dry land.
“But, of course, later on it gets covered with water, and it gets covered very quickly.
“In years gone by, we have lost people along there.”
The signs also warn people not to go onto derelict Birnbeck Pier because it is unsafe.
A council spokesman added: “As we approach the busiest part of the holiday season we have put up signs warning locals and visitors not to go on the structure as well as make sure they don’t get cut off by the tide if they venture onto the shoreline.
“We want everyone to enjoy their visit but also to stay safe.”
The RNLI has launched 55 times this year, the same as it did in the whole of 2017 – but it still has its busiest period to come.
Its most serious call-outs so far have been to the south side of Brean Down.
The charity’s life-saving crews were called to the cliffs on July 26 after reports of a family being cut off by the tide.
Two adults, three children and a baby were found in a small, isolated cove, along with another adult who had swum to them to try to help.
The D class lifeboat went ashore where the group was trapped, and they were taken back to the beach.
Three people and a dog were rescued from the same place on July 14.
Mike Buckland, Weston lifeboat operations manager, said: “We urge everyone to check the tide times when coming to the seaside.
“The tide can catch you out very quickly and the soft mud should not be ventured upon as you can become stuck and exhausted very quickly.”