TVLB advises members of the public not to take part in New Year's Day dip at Whitley Bay
For many years there has been a tradition of Boxing Day and New Year’s Day dips in the sea in North Tyneside. In the past these dips have had official organisers, responsible for ensuring suitable safety cover is in place for such a large-scale public event. Whereas the Boxing Day dip at Tynemouth Longsands, organised by our friends at North Sea Volunteer Lifeguards, had all of the appropriate measures in place, there are no known safety precautions taken at Whitley Bay for the New Year’s Day event.
A few years ago, the event was organised by a local swimming club. However, their participation has now ended and we are concerned that most people taking part will be unaware of this change.
To be clear, we are not saying that going into the sea is a dangerous act – indeed those who follow the Brigade’s press releases will know that we actively encourage people to explore and enjoy our beautiful coastline – but in a safe and responsible manner.
With the prospect of hundreds of people entering the water in one go, we are concerned that participants may go further into the sea than they would normally, and will also be at risk of cold water shock given the time of year and cold sea conditions.
Attempts have been made by North Tyneside Council to identify an organiser of the dip – but it appears that there is not one and it takes place based on word of mouth and local traditions. Local media have also been asked not to publicise the event as it is not officially organised – but dates and times of the dip have still been included on various sites.
On New Year’s Day we will have a safety patrol in the area at the time the dip traditionally takes place. We will also be joined by the local Coastguard Rescue Team from Blyth. However, we are not present to provide safety cover as to do this appropriately would require lifeguards and safety boats and this is beyond our capabilities.
Our role and aim are to provide a coastal search and rescue team in the North Tyneside area – our volunteers are on call 24/7 to respond to whatever emergencies and incidents take place. We are releasing this message because we have genuine concerns that a serious incident could take place and that those involved may be expecting a level of organisation and safety cover that will not be present.
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The Tynemouth Volunteer Life Brigade. Registered Charity Number 1093237
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