Do You Know Where On the Isle of Thanet It Is Easy To Get Cut Off By The Tide?

Tidal cut off is a significant cause of call outs for RNLI lifeboats and also to Coastguard Rescue Teams throughout the year.  People are often unaware that they are in potential danger and are ill prepared. 

What are the key area’s that can cause tidal cut off’s:

Causeways – access to an island that covers and uncovers during a tidal cycle

Sandbanks – flat sandy area’s with raised banks that allow the tide to flow in all around, potentially leaving you stranded

Headlands – headlands and rocky outcrops can create isolated bays. The bays can get cut off by an incoming tide, cliffs’ are hazardous if there is not a safe exit.  Headlands are where Thanet’s cut off points feature most prominently. It should be noted that you can become cut off by the tide at any area of the coastline and is still dangerous.

Which are the prominent cut off points on the Isle of Thanet?

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Botany Bay – very popular with beach visitors all year round, but particularly during the Summer.  In the past beach goers have been cut off in the area just around from the ‘stacks’ towards White Ness.  The What3Words is: ///hooked.colleague.loses

Kingsgate Bay – as highlighted on the map shown above. What3Words 

A lifeboat call-out in the past resulted in a local man and his child being rescued by the Margate lifeboat crew who had been cut off just underneath the cliff at the Captain Digby.  The man had made a mistake with the tide times, but was carrying a mobile phone so that he could call ‘999’ to summon help and ask for the Coastguard quickly giving his precise location.

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Our team regularly visit Thanet’s cut off area’s to advise beach goers about tidal cut off’s and coastal safety

Stone Bay and environs –  One of our team who is also an Instructor with Broadstairs Surf Lifesaving Club was out on his board on a Sunday morning training session and came across a person who would have been cut off the tide if he hadn’t spotted them walking around the headland on an incoming tide.  The person heeded the advice and walked back to safety.

Stone Bay What3Words

Dumpton Gap – the area towards Ramsgate is the most prominent for cut off’s.  Whilst our team were on this beach two years ago carrying out one their Incident Prevention Engagement sessions they were made aware that a local lady and her dog had become cut off by the tide.  They quickly called the Coastguard via ‘999’ and the inshore lifeboat from Ramsgate was launched.  Thankfully the lady and her dog self rescued without injury before the lifeboat arrived on scene.  The lady admitted that she had read the tides wrong, particularly as it had been a Spring Tide.  Dumpton Gap What3Words

Please see below some safety tips which can help you stay safe whilst enjoying the coast.  Coastal walking is one of the most safest pastimes, but taking a few precautions will make the trip to the coast a day to remember for the right reason.

  1.  Check the tide times and weather before you head out
  2.  Carry a means of ‘calling for help’ such as a fully charged mobile phone or VHF radio in a waterproof case which is easily accessible
  3.  Tell someone where you are going and the latest time you will be back
  4.  Be aware of your surroundings at all times, tides can sweep in very quickly
  5.  Read and heed local warning signs often posted at the entrance to beaches
  6.  Wear the right kit for the activity as conditions can change quickly
  7.  If you get cut off by the tide, don’t enter the water, but call out for help
  8.  If you should see or hear an animal or person in difficulty in the water dial ‘999’ without delay and ask for the Coastguard giving as an accurate location as possible and describing the situation
  9.  If you end up in the water, try not to thrash around, float on your back until you get  your breath back and you can call out for help
  10.  Always observe the latest governmental advice re: COVID-19

Please share these safety messages on social media or through chats that you may have with friends, relatives, visitors and work colleagues particularly from outside the area who may not readily appreciate how easily and dangerous getting cut off by the tide can be.  Please use #BeCoastSafe #BeBeachSafe where possible to highlight the post.

Although, we have explored in this blog the bays/headlands which get cut-off by the tide in Thanet, we would like to reiterate that you should be aware that people have been cut off at other parts of the coast not just the ones described above.  Thank you for reading and stay safe everyone!

Useful Links

Do you know how to check the tide times?

How to have a fabulous, but safe time at the coast with your dog

Thanet RNLI Community Safety Team help prevent four tidal cut-off’s

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How to become an RNLI Ambassador


Ordnance Survey

Royal National Lifeboat Instition

HM Coastguard