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Brighton beach closed for Christmas Day swim over safety fears
12:50pm Tuesday 24th December 2013 in News
A section of Brighton beach will be closed on Christmas Day ahead of the traditional swim in the sea.
Brighton and Hove City Council said there was high risk to anyone going into the water due to wet and windy conditions.
In response, it’s closed part of the beach either side of the Palace Pier to deter people from jumping in.
Seafront Operations Manager Viki Miller said: “The conditions are already hazardous and, although it can be tempting to have a quick swim in the sea at Christmas, it’s not worth putting yourself at risk.
"The temperature of the sea at this time of year is extremely cold and you can be caught out by strong currents or debris churned up by the storms.
“We will give people advice about safety as the weather is forecast to remain windy over Christmas and the beach will be closed on 25 December. We want people to be able to enjoy the beach, but safety is a top priority.”
There is no beach lifeguard service in operation during the winter months.
Brighton Seafront Team’s winter facts on why it’s better to stay on shore:
- Sea temperatures in the winter months are about 5 degrees centigrade and can be even colder
- The wind chill makes the air temperature seem colder than the sea. Even on an apparently clear sunny day, the sea temperature can drop body temperature quickly and fatally
- It only takes a few minutes for the body’s core temperature to drop by two degrees and for the onset of hypothermia to begin
- It is never safe to go into the sea after drinking alcohol. Even a small amount of alcohol speeds up the onset of hypothermia in cold water. Drinking also reduces your capabilities.
- You may also think you are a better swimmer than your true ability and take unnecessary risks.
- Anyone with a pre-existing medical condition or taking medication runs additional risks by subjecting their body to a sudden drop of temperature by entering the sea.
- Winter environmental conditions can be extremely challenging, even for the most experienced swimmers. The tide and the weather dictate the conditions and these should not be underestimated.
- There is no beach lifeguard service provision in place during the winter months
- Large crashing waves close to the shore can place lifeboat crews’ lives at risk and make it impossible to reach those in need.
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