'Don't chance it' - RNLI warning not to get cut off as long season looms

Scolt Head Island

Scolt Head Island - Credit: Archant

The RNLI has warned seaside visitors to take as much care as possible to avoid being cut off after a group got into difficulties off the Norfolk coast.

The warnings came after four people and a dog were rescued from Scolt Head Island on Tuesday.

Last year, RNLI Wells was called out 36 times to help people cut off, up from 24 in 2019.

And Justine Sykes, who works for RNLI at Wells, says this season might be their longest and busiest yet.

Members of Wells Lifeboat crew and guests standing in front of the station’s current all-weather lif

Members of Wells Lifeboat crew and guests standing in front of the station’s current all-weather lifeboat. Picture: Supplied by Wells RNLI. - Credit: Archant

“We will be busy with so many people having their holiday in this country and this is an extremely popular part of Norfolk,” she said.

“People will not be going abroad for obvious reasons, so the season will last a lot longer - starting in April and not finishing until maybe October.


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“If we get good weather then there will be day-trippers as well.”

She is offering several pieces of advice, including keeping an eye on children, not using inflatables as they can be swept away with offshore winds and pay close attention to the tide times.

Wells RNLI crews, support teams and boats. Photo: Chris Taylor

Wells RNLI crews, support teams and boats. Photo: Chris Taylor - Credit: Archant

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These are highlighted at the car parks hut, online and by a siren that warns people if they are out, to come back in.

“As soon as you hear that you need to walk back, do not chance it,” she said.

“Once you hear it you need to make your way back to the beach or car park. Do not ignore it, as soon as you hear it that is the clear warning to make your way back.

“As long as you do that, you’ll be safe.”

Geoff Needham, who is warning visitors to respect the tides over the weekend Picture: Matthew Usher

Geoff Needham, who is warning visitors to stay on the island if they are cut off - Credit: Eastern Daily Press, Archant

Geoff Needham, press officer at RNLI Hunstanton said on one day last year, they were called out to almost 40 people cut off.

Mr Needham said if you find yourself stuck, the island is your safest place.

“Stay on the island and you’ll be okay if you are on the sand,” he said.

“If you are cut off it’s far better to stay put than cross the channel, the strong currents and deep gullies are dangerous.

“There are very few places you can walk across safely. You could drop into the sea and be out of your depth and that’s when people come to grief.”

Both of them stressed that if you are unsure of what to do, call the coastguard as soon as you can.

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