Council issues water safety warning ahead of the half-term holidays

Published Wednesday, 22nd May 2024

With the school half-term holidays just around the corner, Hartlepool Borough Council has issued some important water safety advice to help people stay safe if they head to the town's beaches.

This includes a special warning for people not to swim off Steetley Pier – which was the scene of a tragic accident in 2021 - and the North Sands and Crimdon beaches because it’s not safe to do so.

A day at the seaside offers a lovely time for all the family, but it’s a lot easier to get into trouble in the water than you might think.

Know the dangers:

  • Jumping or falling into cold water can cause cold water shock and hypothermia, both of which can cause people to drown.
  • Waves are very powerful – avoid piers, slipways and promenades when the sea conditions are rough.
  • Beware of rip currents – strong currents running out to sea which can take swimmers out of their depth very easily.
  • Be aware of incoming tides – the sea can come in very quickly and cut you off.
  • Think before you dive – be very careful when diving at any time and never dive into water with which you are not familiar – there may be hidden dangers such as rocks, currents or insufficient depth.
  • Don’t use inflatables in the sea – the tides, currents and wind can easily carry you far away from the shore.

Never swim on your own:

  • You should always have someone on hand in case you get into difficulty – stay together.

If you get into trouble:

  • Float on your back, wait until you are calm then raise your arm and shout for help.

If you see someone in difficulty in the sea:

  • Call 999 and ask for the coastguard.
  • The what3words app – which generates a code to accurately pinpoint your location – is a very useful app to have on your mobile phone if at any time you need to report your location to the emergency services if you are in difficulty or spot someone else in trouble.  

Councillor Gary Allen, Chair of Hartlepool Borough Council’s Adult and Community-Based Services Committee, said: “Everyone loves a day at the seaside but we want people to stay safe while they’re having fun, so we would ask everyone to please follow this important advice.

“In particular, we would warn people once again not to swim off Steetley Pier and the North Sands and Crimdon beaches, because the conditions there mean it’s just not safe to do so.

“We all remember the tragic accident three years ago at Steetley Pier when teenager Matthew Sherrington sadly lost his life.

“The water around the pier may look calm but it’s particularly hazardous as there are very strong rip currents as well as sudden deep water and underground hazards.

“Since the tragedy in 2021 there have unfortunately been instances when youngsters have been seen swimming off Steetley Pier, so we would urge parents to please talk to their children about the dangers of swimming in open water and make sure they know where their children are at all times.”