RNLI lifeguards are warning of the dangers of playing on or near the sheer sand cliffs that have been created on many beaches during the winter storms.
Lifeguards will return to some of the south west’s busiest beaches on Saturday (5 April), providing safety cover over the two week Easter school holidays (5 to 21 April) on 10 beaches, with a further seven patrolled over the four day Easter bank holiday weekend (18 to 21 April).
Ahead of their return, the charity’s lifesavers have issued safety warnings highlighting the dangers of playing on or near the sheer sand cliffs that have been created on many beaches during the winter storms.
Steve Instance, RNLI Senior Lifeguard Manager for the South West said: "The south west boasts some of the best beaches in the country and the RNLI is delighted to be providing safety cover over the Easter break for those wishing to make the most of their visit to the region.
"However, the winter storms have dramatically changed the make-up of most the beaches and many returning to their favourite spots may be surprised at how different everything looks. This includes significant erosion of the sand dunes where gentle slopes have washed away leaving sheer sand cliffs, some of which are ten to 15 feet high.
"On other beaches access points have altered and on some the shifting sand has left deep channels that in turn create strong rip currents.
"We’d urge anyone planning on swimming over the Easter holidays to head to a lifeguarded beach and ensure that they swim between the red and yellow flags, which mark out the safest area to swim and are patrolled by lifeguards. Please take heed of the safety signage and any advice offered by the lifeguards on duty.
"The large cliffs of sand may look enticing play grounds for young children, but please do not allow them to play on or dig into them. As the weather gets warmer and dryer the sand is at risk of collapsing, trapping anyone on or below it. . Cliff paths have also been left unstable and walkers are encouraged to stick to the marked paths.
"By highlighting the dangers before visitors arrive at the beach, we hope that we can avoid potential incidents and everyone can enjoy their time on the beach in safety.’ Fistral beach in Newquay will be patrolled from Saturday 5 April for the whole summer season and up until the end of October 2014.
RNLI lifeguards will provide safety cover on the following beaches over the two week Easter school holidays (5 to 21 April): Praa Sands, Gwithian, Porthmeor, Porthtowan, Perranporth, Harlyn, Polzeath and Widemouth in Cornwall.
RNLI lifeguards will provide safety cover on the following beaches over the four day Easter bank holiday weekend (18 to 21 April): Watergate, Hayle Towans, Sennen, Towan, Constantine and Summerleaze in Cornwall.
For more beach safety information and advice, visit www.rnli.org.uk/beachsafety