District Dispatch - 8 June 2022
Now that the sun has finally started to appear, many of us will take advantage of visiting our fantastic coastline.
It's Water Safety Week between 18-25 June and so I wanted to take this opportunity to remind you of the importance of keeping safe near the water and to tell you about our fantastic Foreshores team, who work hard at keeping the beaches at Bracklesham, Selsey, and East Wittering safe and tidy.
The Foreshores Team patrols the district's nine miles of coastline, tackling any issues that come their way. We lease the beaches at Selsey, Bracklesham and East Wittering from the crown estate, which means that we have a duty to patrol and maintain this area of coastline.
Over the past five years, the team has dealt with everything from beached whales to land disputes; from washed-up military tanks to sweeping away the shingle. You will see them patrolling along the coast on foot or in their boat.
When an emergency situation arises the Foreshores Team liaise with organisations to save lives and keep people safe; this includes the RNLI and the Coastguard. The team are often the first to notice breaches in coastal defences, hazards in the water and on the beach, and much more.
I'm sad to say that on average, over 400 people drown in the UK every year, and this is because we often underestimate how dangerous the water can really be. The Royal Life Saving Society are wanting to raise awareness of this so that people are better prepared when they go for a swim in the sea or open water. You can find out more about this on the Drowning Prevention Week Campaign web page.
This is something that our Foreshores Team are all too aware of, and regularly rescue people from our coastline. They are our eyes and ears on the coast and without them, our beaches would be a very different place. We're very proud of the work they do year after year. They deal with such a variety of situations, many of which could pose a threat to people's lives.
As well as making sure that our beaches are safe and tidy, the team also keeps a close eye on the district's sea defences. Last year, one of the shingle banks had significantly eroded. The team made the Environment Agency aware of it and they came and fixed it. Had it breached, it would have flooded the land behind and could have caused a significant amount of damage to people's homes.
To keep residents and visitors safe, the team has created the Foreshores Code of Conduct.By following the code of conduct, beachgoers can enjoy their time in the sun without putting themselves and others at risk.
You may also be interested to know that the team are also registered as a Royal Yachting Association (RYA) training centre which allows the Foreshore team to run powerboat courses..
The seasonal Foreshore Team operates from Bracklesham at full strength from early April to late September each year. Please say hello to them if you are out and about. They are always happy to help and make your visit safe and enjoyable.
Cllr Penny Plant
Cabinet Member for Chichester Contract Services and the Environment at Chichester District Council