New signs go up at Hartlepool beach warning of rip current dangers after increase in incidents

Signs warning of the dangers of strong currents have been placed near a beach after an increase in sea safety incidents.

Monday, 12th July 2021, 4:45 am

Temporary notices have been put up around Hartlepool’s Steetley Pier after a number of recent incidents of people getting into trouble in the water.

The latest happened earlier this month when a young girl and a group of her friends got pulled out by the current after a wave went over them.

Luckily they all got out safely thanks to the help of some other young people on the beach.

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Councillor Rachel Creevy holding the Rip Tide warning poster near Steetley beach. Picture by FRANK REID

Three weeks ago three young swimmers also got into trouble by the rip current and were helped back to shore by an adult who swam out.

De Bruce ward councillor Rachel Creevy took action to get the warning signs after being contacted by the older sister of the young girl involved in the latest incident.

Cllr Creevy said: "It’s come to light there has been several incidents over the years and in recent weeks.

“I got in touch with the council officer responsible for beach safety. They advised me they were in the process of making up some signs but it would be a few weeks.

"I thought it’s getting a bit close to the school holidays and asked if we could get something up a bit sooner so they arranged to get some temporary signs made up.”

Cllr Creevy also contacted Hartlepool lifeboat service who shared important safety advice with her which she has passed on to several local schools.

Hartlepool RNLI coxswain Robbie Maiden said after the earlier incident on June 20: “Never underestimate the power of the strong rip currents that can easily drag a person out to sea from the shallows of the shoreline similar to today's incident.”

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Hartlepool Borough Council has also issued a beach safety reminder as Covid restrictions continue to ease.

Cllr Tim Fleming, chair of the adult and community based services committee, said: “As more people are visiting our beaches it’s important we remind and educate them about the potential dangers.

“For example, it’s great we are seeing more people visit Steetley beach but sadly with that we have also seen an increase in the number of serious incidents over the last month.

“Steetley is a beach which we would not recommend for anyone to swim at. The sea conditions may appear calm but the beach has number of hazards that are not visible.

"The water around the pier is a particular hazard as there are channels that cause very strong rip currents as well as sudden deep water and underground hazards.

“We are placing signs in the area and educating local residents about safety around visiting the beach. It’s the first step to ensure our residents and visitors stay safe this summer."

He said the best way to stay safe is to choose a beach with lifeguards and always swim between red and yellow flags in the sea showing where it is safest.

De Bruce ward councillor Brenda Harrison praised the speed and efficiency of Cllr Creevy and the council over the temporary signs.

She added: “It is a quick fix for now but ward councillors are going to be working with the council officers to try to get a permanent solution for the future.”

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