Wednesday 27 September 2023
Select a region

"It won't be long before someone drowns"

Tuesday 16 May 2017

"It won't be long before someone drowns"

Tuesday 16 May 2017

It's a photo which captures the dangers of the tides around Jersey - the two people in this picture did make it to shore, but only after wading back from Elizabeth Castle at the weekend, with water up to their chests.

It was taken by a local powerboat instructor, who says islanders still aren't paying enough attention to the frequent tide warnings.

Joe Mourant, a powerboat instructor at Le Mourier Swim/Sea/Save, was on his way back from a dolphin watch when he saw the two individuals, who were carrying small dogs, walking on the causeway. He immediately alerted the Coastguard who monitored the situation with cameras, and asked him to stay on standby in case the duo needed rescue.

He told Express: "There were still quite close to the Castle and there was already quite lot of water on the causeway. They must have realised they were late and decided to go anyway, they could have turned back, they have no excuse. The water was coming in quickly and they were going incredibly slow with water up to their chests. Thankfully they somehow made it over to the middle point but it took them over 20 minutes."

It's not the first time Mr Mourant has seen such an incident - last year, one of his junior instructors rescued two men in conditions that were almost identical. However, he says people do not seem to be heeding the warning and still taking risks.

He explains: "What those people didn't realise is that at the moment the sea is still cold. It's only at about 13 degrees and there is a risk of cold water shock from prolonged immersion if a person is unprepared for it. This can dramatically affect breathing and affect a person's cognition. The walk between the Castle and St Helier beach is a very long one and by the end, after such a long time in the water, they must have been absolutely freezing."

"What would have happened if a boat had come along? Or if they had needed rescue? It is a huge chance to take, they were incredibly lucky."

Mr Mourant posted about the incident on social media as he hopes that getting the word out will help people understand what kind of dangers they put themselves in, and that they need to pay more attention to tide times, all around the Island.

He says: "People don't just get stuck at Elizabeth Castle, it also happens at Seymour Tower and around La Rocque or Green Island where the tides come in very quickly. Some people don't pay much attention to the tides before setting off and then they cut off. And it's not always tourists, it's also Islanders who really should know better about Jersey's tidal ranges. If people carry on risking such crossings, it won't be long before someone drowns."

Jersey Coastguard have also echoed his warning, even though this incident had a lucky ending. A statement from a spokesperson said: "With the Island having some of the largest tidal ranges in the world, you can easily be cut off from land very quickly. Therefore, we would remind you to check the tide times before you set off and ensure they fit in with what you are planning to do and what route you are planning to take."

Pic credit: Joe Mourant

Sign up to newsletter



Comments on this story express the views of the commentator only, not Bailiwick Publishing. We are unable to guarantee the accuracy of any of those comments.

Once your comment has been submitted, it won’t appear immediately. There is no need to submit it more than once. Comments are published at the discretion of Bailiwick Publishing, and will include your username.

Posted by Denise Shrives on
There is not a lot one can do when folk ignore notices. Just as long as the Castle site and the shore kiosk has big enough signs and folk are told when they are handed their tickets. Maybe some sort of system could be introduced, say a "fog horn" type sound to let folk no an hour before the tide is due to cover causeway. Maybe the Castle could have automatic gates that close to stop folk getting out and a phone number to call to be rescued. But I expect that some silly people would "try their luck" what ever!
Posted by Michael de Petrovsky on
I have always said "Tides" "Meteorology" and basic "Navigation" should be part of the National Curriculum for all Channel Islands´ and UK children from an early age and should continue into Secondary Education. The number of fatalities and rescues resulting from an ignorance of these three subjects is quite extensive and the need for a knowledge of them exceeds that of much of what is currently taught or time wasting in schools.
To place a comment please login

You have landed on the Bailiwick Express website, however it appears you are based in . Would you like to stay on the site, or visit the site?