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    "If you've been injured through no fault of your own you could be entitled to compensation. If you're unsure if you could claim, I recommend you call Accident Advice Helpline."

    Esther Rantzen

    Understanding British tidal currents

    Understanding British tidal currents goes a long way towards preventing accidents while swimming in the sea.

    British tides

    Caused by the earth’s rotation, the moon and the sun, tides cause sea levels to fall and rise. Tides on British beaches go out and come back in again twice a day. This, of course, means that a beach or rock pool that was seemingly well away from the water in the morning could be under high water just a few hours later. Low and high tide points occur at different times every day. It is important to check local tide times before walking out toward the sea to prevent being cut off by incoming tides.

    British tidal currents and swimmers

    British tidal currents can also cause fast-flowing ‘corridors’ of water that can rapidly drag even an experienced, strong swimmer out to sea. Lateral currents (currents flowing parallel to beaches) could also drag weaker swimmers into heavy surf or rip currents.

    Dangers of rip currents

    One of the main causes of surfing and swimming accidents is rip currents. These are characterised by strong flows of water out to sea. Occurring when natural wave action causes an accumulation of large amounts of water close to the shore, rip currents can drag even strong swimmers into deeper, potentially dangerous waters. Sometimes fixed at a specific location and sometimes occurring at multiple points along a beach, rip currents can be identified by the water’s sandy discoloration.


    Backwash typically occurs during high tide on beaches rising sharply away from the edge of the water. Packing sufficient power to knock even adults off their feet, backwash is especially dangerous for children playing close to the edge of the sea.

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    Shore break

    Usually occurring when heavy surf conditions cause large waves (at high tide) to break on the shore with no or very little water underneath them. One of the most common causes of serious shoulder, back and neck injuries at the beach, shore breaks can slam swimmers caught up in a wave like this heavily onto the beach.

    Accident Advice Helpline

    While avoiding accidents involving British tidal currents is predominantly your own responsibility, other beach accidents can and should be prevented by others. If you were injured at the beach through no fault on your part, you could be entitled to make a personal injury claim. To find out how we can help you get the compensation you deserve, call us from a landline: 0800 689 0500 or from your mobile: 0333 500 0993 now.

    Date Published: February 7, 2017

    Author: Accident Advice

    Accident Advice Helpline (or AAH) is a trading style of Slater Gordon Solutions Legal Limited. Slater Gordon Solutions Legal Limited is a company registered in England and Wales with registration number 07931918, VAT 142 8192 16, registered office Dempster Building, Atlantic Way, Brunswick Business Park, Liverpool, L3 4UU and is an approved Alternative Business Structure authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. Authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

    Disclaimer: This website contains content contributed by third parties, therefore any opinions, comments or other information expressed on this site that do not relate to the business of AAHDL or its associated companies should be understood as neither being held or endorsed by this business.

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