A number of beaches are to be closed to the public tomorrow to deter Christmas Day swimmers, Brighton and Hove City Council said.
And the council’s seafront officers were urging residents, visitors and their families to stay safe and keep away from the sea this winter.
Seafront operations manager Chris Ingall said: “Everyone enjoys a bracing stroll on the promenade over the festive season.
“But we would urge people to stay on the path or high up on the beach, especially when the sea conditions are rough.
“Keep little ones close and hold their hands at all times when walking on the beaches. Large waves can easily knock people over, pulling them into the sea – the smaller the person the greater the risk.”
Dog owners are also urged to keep their pets on leads and away from the sea. The warning follows the death of Gareth Jones and his beloved dog, Connie the cockapoo, in January.
The council said: “We are once again taking extra measures to discourage swimmers from taking a Christmas Day dip by closing access to the beaches around Brighton Palace Pier.”
Mr Ingall said: “As open water swimming has become more popular over the last few years, we are seeing more groups of swimmers gathering for winter swim sessions.
“It’s extremely important that those wishing to enjoy this invigorating and extreme form of free and healthy activity fully understand the real dangers involved.
“Cold water sea swimming takes skill, stamina and knowledge of the physical dangers and should only be for the very experienced, using suitable wetsuits, in very calm conditions and with friends.
“Even on a calm day, sea currents, unpredictable waves or a sudden change in weather can create life-threatening hazards without warning. Even experienced swimmers can get caught out.”
Brighton and Hove’s beaches differ from others along the south coast, with hidden dangers, Mr Ingall said, adding: “Unlike many other beaches, where you can gradually enter the water, Brighton and Hove beach has a steep shingle slope, making it difficult to leave and enter the water especially during the four hours over the high tide period.
“The combination of strong winds and steep shingle banks increases the risk of being swept out to sea.
“Check the conditions on the day and consider all those in the group. The sea will be there tomorrow. Don’t take unnecessary risks that could threaten your life or others trying to help.”
Chris said that members the seafront team are always happy to advise swimmers on sea conditions.
He said: “We have constant updates on the weather conditions and would urge anyone wanting to swim to talk to us first.”
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