Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Warnings on wave watching!

Wave watching is exciting -- only if you are certain at a safe distance away from the action. Here's a picture of watching waves at the Portland Bill near the southern central Dorset, England north side of the English Channel

as published in the DorsetEcho with the following report:

FAMILIES risked their lives to get a closer look at the monster waves hitting Portland during hurricane winds, coastguards said.

The Portland Bill Coastguard Rescue Team found hundreds of people had clambered over flood defences designed to keep them a safe distance back from 30-foot-high waves described as the roughest in 10 years at Chesil Cove.

They were shocked to find parents and their children among those strolling along the beach seemingly unaware that a wave could climb the beach and drag them into the stormy seas at any moment Coastguard and flood bailiff Bob Naerger said: “It was madness. One day somebody is going to lose their life down here.

“It is quite something to see down here and nobody wants to stop them looking at the waves but just be more responsible.”

Mr Naerger said he helped one girl aged five or six over the sea wall who told him she was ‘really scared’.

He added: “Parents don’t realise they are putting their lives at risk as I don’t think they’ve got a clue what the consequences could be.

“I don’t know what goes through their heads.”

A team of four coastguards warned people to stay behind the flood defences as waves threw pieces of wood and pebbles the size of tennis balls on to the beach and promenade.

Coastguard Nick Gould said: “All of a sudden you would get a rogue one and that could catch you out. You could be whipped off your feet and dragged down and then you are gone.”

Mr Gould said children were most at risk.

He added: “It was very careless behaviour because people with kids on the sea wall were letting them run around.

“You don’t need a big wave to wash a little kiddy away.

“There were people putting their kids over the floodgates and they need to be aware they are putting lives at risk.”

Nigel McColm, Portland Bill Coastguard station officer, branded the behaviour as ‘stupid’ in what he said was the ‘roughest sea at Chesil in 10 years’.

He said: “I liken it to playing football on the Dorchester bypass. If you get dragged into the sea you’ve got no chance of getting out.

“When those waves come up over the beach and it all drags back the pebbles you’ve got a hell of a drag going back with the pebbles.”

A coastguard spokesman said they recorded storm force 10 at Portland on Saturday and are expecting up to gale force 8 again this week.

I am wondering why people tend to ignore the obvious dangers involved. Mr. Gould of Coastguard gave very sober warning that everyone should remember first and foremost: “All of a sudden you would get a rogue one and that could catch you out. You could be whipped off your feet and dragged down and then you are gone.” That kind of things had been happened so many times all around the world, it is really no excuse not to be aware especially for family with small children. Wave watching is really not fun and game at any rate!

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