Cliff Collapse – Know The Dangers!

If you live close to the coast and are an avid follower of local coastal interest pages on social media you will may have seen the images and video’s showing the recent cliff collapses around the country.   Very sadly, a cliff collapse in February caused the death of a dog in the west country.

In the past few weeks HM Coastguard Margate have been notified of a cliff falls in Kingsgate bay near to Broadstairs.   The photo below was captured by a member of the the Margate Lifeboat crew.

Coastguard Safety Advice

The Coastguard says “We want people to enjoy themselves on the coast by making sure their visit is one to remember and not one they’d rather forget. It’s a well-known fact that the cliffs along the UK coastline are continually eroding, with pieces falling from them that can be just a few small rocks or as large as a car. It’s impossible to predict when the next piece might fall or how big it will be”.

Periods of intense rainfall

The Coastguard said further “Periods of intense rainfall followed by dryer warmer weather will often make cliff edges more vulnerable. We’ve seen a number of cliff collapses around the UK coastline in recent months. It’s very clear that cliffs are very unstable in places and we really can’t stress enough how important it is to keep back from the edge.

cliffcollapse margatecoastguard thanetlifeguards becoastaware RNLIwatersafety RNLIommunitysafety Broadstairs margate ramsgatelifeboat Margatelifeboat knowwhotocall Coastguard
Coastguard Rescue Team Vehicles

There is no ‘safe’ place to be. Some of the cracks that have appeared have been several feet away from the edge. Don’t be tempted to go and investigate and don’t risk going to the edge to get a dramatic picture.

One of our biggest problems is tackling the ‘selfie culture’ where people take risks to get a dramatic photograph of themselves on a dangerous cliff edge or during a tidal surge – no selfie or photograph is worth risking your life for. Remember to call ‘999’ and ask for the Coastguard if you see anyone in difficulty or get into trouble yourself”.

By following these few simple safety tips from the HM Coastguard you can keep yourself out of harm’s way on the coast….

  • Make sure that you are properly equipped for walking along coastal paths. In particular remember to wear sturdy shoes or boots
  • Check the weather forecast and tidal times before you set out.
  • Carry a fully charged mobile phone
  • Tell someone where you are going and what time you will be home.
  • Only use the designated paths, take notice of any warning signs and fences in place, be responsible and don’t take any unnecessary risks.
  • Try and keep your dog on a lead near cliffs. If they pick up the scent of an animal or hear something on the coast below it doesn’t take much for them to follow their nose.
  • If your dog does fall down a cliff or starts getting swept out to sea, please do not attempt to rescue it yourself. Nine times out of ten your dog will rescue itself and return to shore alive, but tragically some owners do not. Our coastguards are trained in all types of rescue on the coast, including dog rescues.
RNLIWatersafetyteam RNLICommunitysafety becoastsafe Margatecoastguard Margatelifeboat Ramsgatelifeboat Thanetlifeguards cliffcollapse Kingsgatebay knowwhotocall
Coastguard Officers about to undertake a cliff rescue exercise
  • Do not attempt to climb up or down cliffs unless you are properly equipped and trained to do so and do not attempt to climb cliffs as a short cut back to the top.
  • When standing at the bottom of a cliff, we would always advise people that they shouldn’t stand less than the height of the cliff away. That means that if the cliff is 25 metres high, don’t go closer than 25 metres towards it.

Video from cliff collapse Shanklin, Isle of Wight 18th April 2022

Whenever you are visiting the coast always follow the latest government safety advice concerning COVID-19. Thank you for reading and stay safe.

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Acknowledgements

HM Coastguard

Royal National Lifeboat Institution

Richard and Anna Harrison