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Date published: 7th August 2020

North Norfolk District Council is urging people to be extremely cautious when visiting the beach. With many people choosing to enjoy ‘staycations’ and make day trips to the area, local beaches will be busy and it is more important than ever to respect the sea, and to be aware of your surroundings to accommodate social distancing guidance.

People who regularly visit the beach and enjoy the sea will know how fast the tides can come in, or how quickly the sea conditions can change, but it is crucial that visitors understand the risks presented by the sea and cliffs and know what to do in an emergency.

People are reminded that they should not climb, or dig around the base of the cliffs. Cliffs should not to be used as quick access to the beach, as they are extremely fragile and could slip at any moment. In the last 12 months alone our cliffs have experienced several major slips, therefore we must urge people to stay safe and avoid causing further instability.

We would also remind people that cliff jumping (or jumping from structures, such as Cromer Pier, which is not permitted under any circumstances), especially as there is limited or no lifeguard presence, is extremely dangerous, and may result in serious injury. Swimmers enjoying the sea should also be mindful of rip tides or unexpected currents to take hold and render swimmers unable to get back to safety, and should not use inflatables on the sea.

In recent days there have been a number of emergencies along the North Norfolk coast involving HM Coastguard and the RNLI lifeboats with other emergency services responding to incidents in the sea and on our cliffs and we want people to stay safe and enjoy themselves without placing strain on the emergency services.

Beach hut owners have been able to enjoy using their huts and chalets again, however for this year, given the large numbers of visitors and the need to facilitate social distancing on narrow promenade areas, we ask that hut and chalet owners either sit inside their huts and chalets, or on the beach. This allows passers-by, particularly wheelchair users or pushchairs, to pass at a safe distance.

We want visitors to the beach to enjoy themselves and the hot weather safely. Drink water regularly to avoid dehydration, avoid the sun during peak hours and please use appropriate SPF to avoid sunburn. The NHS has a comprehensive guide for more advice on coping in hot weather

Please use this advice and look out for vulnerable friends and family members, such as the elderly or children.

If you do decide to go into the sea, the RNLI and HM Coastguard are advising the public not to use inflatables at all and for everyone, especially parents, planning a visit to a beach or the coast to follow this safety advice:

  • Have a plan - check the weather forecast, tide times and read local hazard signage
  • Keep a close eye on your family – on the beach and in the water
  • Do not allow members of your family to swim alone
  • Do not use inflatables
  • If you fall into the water unexpectedly, FLOAT TO LIVE. Fight your instinct to thrash around, lean back, extend your arms and legs, and float
  • In an emergency dial 999, and ask for the Coastguard

Cllr Sarah Bütikofer, Leader of the District Council said: “We want our local residents and visitors to enjoy the fantastic coastline and many blue flag beaches we have here in North Norfolk over the summer. We understand people are here to have fun and particularly with the weather forecast over the next few days relax and enjoy themselves.

"At the moment we have large numbers of people, many of whom don’t know our coastline, going to the beach. I would urge everyone to familiarise themselves with some basic advice about how to stay safe in and near the water, on cliffs and in the heat, and know how to summon assistance in case of an emergency”.

Last updated: 7th August 2020