Rob Dove is one of four foreshore inspectors based at the Councils' Beach Office on Worthing seafront.
Rob previously served almost five years as an Infantryman (Regiment Gunner) with 1 Squadron, as a machine gunner (GPMG) and team medic. He was deployed on two tours in Helmand Afghanistan and two campaigns in Libya.
Now 20 months in to the role of Foreshore Inspector, his forces background has him well prepared me for the diverse and challenging nature of the job!
You can read Rob's current blog posts on this page below:
See also: Beaches and seafront
For some it may provide entertainment to mess about with it, but let's hope for their sake its not them that needs it after its been tampered with or cast away.
Our Pier has seen a handful of incidents this week alone. Life rings are being tampered with and pulled about along with one of our specially housed fire extinguishers, located on the central partition, being thrown overboard; only to wash up locally on the beach below.
As Foreshore Inspectors, part of our daily service checks on the Pier is that we monitor the serviceability of our rescue aids, such as the defibrillator, life rings, extinguishers and fire hose storage containers just to name a few. Any deficient kit is replaced as soon as practically possible or re-set there and then.
All these items cost more than you think and having to order a new life ring container and extinguisher has been a sore subject; made worse by the fact that all of this is intentional damage is deducting funds that we would have much rather put it towards future public equipment plans for the 2019 season.
The Pier's rescue aids must be good to go and at a state of readiness at all times, as this year's events have proven with 'jumpers' being in the water for various reasons and cigarette fires becoming a greater possibility with the hot summer weather drying our pier crisp and as such turning it into a tinderbox.
The good news is with the piers CCTV being checked, this will hopefully help us identify and prosecute the little ... so-and-sos?!
If you notice the two white tabs showing on any of the large red life ring containers along the piers' cast iron railings, this means it has been tampered with and needs inspecting and resetting by a Foreshore Inspector; if you see this please give us a call.
The thought of someone needing this equipment in our icy waters at this time of year only to find its missing or knotted up would sink your stomach.
Even better, if you witness the act unfolding before you please call the Beach Office immediately with a description of the events and we will be on scene as a matter of urgency.
Help us help you, lets nip this in the bud early! It only takes one person to create this disruption which sadly in many ways is at everyone else's expense.
Keep safe and keep diligent.
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Approximately 640,000 tons of fishing gear is lost in our oceans every year as a result of commercial fishing. This isn't a deliberate act as nets and rigging are expensive - it's the the harsh reality of an unforgiving environment.
Over the last couple of weeks the sporadic remains of gill and trawl netting have become entwined and bedraggled on our groynes and Pier structure. It's important to be on the pulse to remove it as soon as practically possible. Every effort is made to trace the owners: nets or pots are uniquely identified by tags and we report these back to the Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority (IFCA) at Shoreham for them to check that the vessel has reported it to them or inform them accordingly.
As Foreshore Inspectors, the buck stops with us regardless of how, when or why this happens. If fishing gear beaches on our coastline, we have to extract it for public and maritime safety reasons.
'Ghost netting' as its known is extremely harmful to our local marine environment, as marine animals may become entangled in it. It is also extremely dangerous to other vessels that may pass over it and tangle propellers or keels. It is yet again another 'man made' issue, but one we know wouldn't have been caused if a choice was given, unlike the millions of disposable plastic bottles, containers and crates which are thrown in to our oceans by humans all over the world given their worthless value.
Luckily we have our tractor and loader arm to assist in removing the stricken netting if its needed, although most of the netting is cut away with the Mk1 human arm and metal working saw.
We take care to check the netting for any tangled fauna that may still be alive or may have returned there. Starfish, dogfish and gulls seem to be the most likely victims in this situation, mostly due to their scavenging nature I would assume.
So if you see any nets or rigging out there, please give us a call at the Beach Office and we will come and recce the site and devise a plan of action to remove the net, however big or small it may be - and as soon as tides, light and manpower allow us to do so.
Go for it, help us find a ghost on the beach this winter ...
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If this world as we know it was to come to an abrupt end, I guarantee Herring gulls and Dandelions will see it through!
We are, contrary to what some may say, very lucky to have three main types of Gull that visit our coastline; the main being the Herring Gull (Larus argentatus).
Aside from the noise or shall I say 'distinct call', these birds are tremendously adapted to a harsh life out on our waters and are very robust to any weather state and as a result are opportunistic feeders that eat ravenously when they chance arises, helping keep our beaches cleaner still.
It's a sad fact that the Herring gull, which is our main resident gull, is categorised in red on the UK conservation status and has declined steadily over the last few decades.
The decline is due to habitat loss, pollution and human interference; a recurring trend for most declining species.
As I mentioned earlier, these birds are very robust and are extremely efficient feeders in their natural habitat. With this in mind, I must discourage you from intentionally feeding any Gulls along our Prom or beaches as ultimately they don't require our help from a food point of view, just to be left alone to go about their daily routine.
Twice this week whilst out on a mobile reconnaissance patrol I had to intercept and advise the same gentleman from intentionally feeding the Gulls with a bucket full of pasta ...
The feeding location adjacent to the Promenade was creating a frenzy of air activity, along with putting food waste amongst the stones.
By now the Gulls were in a mass frenzy of Stuka dives and swooping low over other beach users, cyclists and walkers along the Prom and inevitably dropping the odd white bomb too.
I can appreciate the concern for the Fauna specie and how some may feel the need to feed them, but before some may criticise me or question why we have an enforceable by-law in place to deter the intentional feeding of Gulls, it's mainly down to what's being offered.
Carbohydrates, i.e bread or pasta, isn't a natural diet for them and will create the internal digestion system to slow down to try to process the alien food, regardless of how quick they may seem to eat it!
Trust them to find enough crustaceans, fish and insects in and around our tidal zones.
Next time your being eyeballed, stalked or kamikazied by one whilst you're eating, look past the noise and take note of the crisp white or mottled plumage and how tough these birds really are; but be cruel to be kind and keep the chips for you and you only!
Photo: A brave cheeky Gull looking in through our Beach Office window
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Regardless of your profession or cares in the world, if you saw what looked like an abandoned vessel of any kind bobbing about in the water, alarm bells would start ringing.
The call came in from a concerned member of public who had seen a craft of some sort rolling in the surf near the section of beach opposite Brooklands Park. Whenever a call like this comes into us it is treated as an immediate priority and is one situation that we are well rehearsed in, reconnaissance is our bread and butter as a Foreshore service.
At Worthing we are located out of the immediate migrant crossing route but if the conditions are right and the vessels have evaded being located, this is always a possibility and we act accordingly in the interest of national security.
Once on scene, my colleague Tim updated base with his findings on our private VHF radio channel ... It was an abandoned kayak rolling in with the surf.
The search was then on to locate a possible owner on the local beach and foreshore.
Once this initial search was completed, with no owner located, the last final details are then sent over to base and we then relay the information and details over to Solent Coastguard for them to have on file should the matter arise at a later date.
The kayak was then brought back to our compound for a more in-depth analysis and hopefully we would be able to locate the owner or club that has misplaced the vessel.
Situations like this, where in this case a kayak is lost at sea, can be less of a serious situation if it is reported to the coastguard once lost, stolen or if it has entered the water through adverse weather conditions. Once we know there is no possible threat to life a large amount of man hours can be saved in responding and dealing with the situation.
This is I feel another asset to what the Beach Office can deliver by keeping an 'eyes on' overt presence on our coastline, not much won't be found, reported or intercepted.
Even if you're still out there on the water this winter, enjoy it and stay safe but keep the bigger picture in your mind at all times.
For any advice either flag us down or call the Beach Office on 01903 238977.
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It's definitely a larger flock this season, so that's a positive!
4:30pm is the best time to start watching, an entertaining ten minutes or so before all the chaos fades out as quick as it came.
Another week of somewhat predictable climatic conditions have brought yet again calm waters with low sediment and great visibility to the horizon, showing every detail as you scan the water.
Above water at dusk is where it seems to be taking place this week as one of our resident Fauna species, the Starling (Sturnus vulgaris), takes centre stage.
It's called a 'murmuration' and this occurs every Winter as this specie tends to roost on man made structures around the Sussex coastline, with Worthing being no exception.
Possible habitat loss over the century with a lack of mature trees in number and density have made our Art Deco pier the ideal bedtime location.
To us it seems a windy and cold prospect to be settling down for the night amongst the cast iron and below the hardwood decking, but being small and there being enough cover and room for the flock, it makes it a unique and vital habitat.
Before any roosting takes place, the routine gathering of numbers, dashing and darting similar to the waves below and loud chatter happens on cue every day as dusk falls. All of this behaviour is just communication between the individuals and predator evasion before the decision is taken to bed down till first light.
The Starling population is still in overall decline; it's on the red list as numbers have dropped by 80% in recent years. For our local the murmuration to keep growing in number, it's imperative that nesting and inland feeding sites are maintained with the specie in mind.
Many of the Councils open spaces with their emphasis on native planting, and this has played a big part in helping the young develop this year. Wildflower areas are providing a added benefit in supplying forage areas, especially so in Adur and Worthing.
At the Beach Office we continue to monitor water quality and keep pollution off our coastline where practically possible, thus preserving another key feeding site at low tide for this rare bird in and amongst the flint and weed.
At dusk one day this week, have a walk along the Pier or beach nearby and have a watch of the spectacle for yourself.
P.S. Mobile phone cameras just don't cut it for detail when it comes to murmurations! Good luck!
Photo: The evening sky from the end of Worthing Pier
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All quiet on the southern front as 2019 hasn't brought too much adverse flotsam and the weather conditions have been calm, cold and predictable with a sea temperature fluctuating around 10 degrees.
My job would be an easy one if Winter passed by with conditions as they are now, but this will inevitably change and by April I will no doubt have written about storm fronts and prolonged cold spells hitting our coastline.
Photo: View of Worthing Seafront from the pier across a calm sea
With the calm weather settling in, its clear to see who received a new scooter, bicycle or drone this Christmas. On the 'drone' front, I will don my chain mail and cover drones in a later blog!
Senior Foreshore Inspector Graham Cherrett along with myself and my fellow inspectors will be actively discussing new ways and methods throughout January and be looking at how we can build on the success of 2018 and implement more ideas on the foreshore and for water safety, along with further raising the profile of Worthing Beach Office.
A lot is changing along our seafront with construction, the WOW (Worthing Observation Wheel) and events and we need to make sure we adapt and forward plan to accommodate.
A new year brings lots fresh ideas and to help raise further awareness of Worthing Beach Office, the service we provide and flaunt the water safety elements we have at our disposal; I will hopefully be doing a spot of fundraising myself too ...
It's in its early stages but I am looking to paddle from Brighton Pier to Worthing Pier in our unique rescue kayak, shadowed by our safety jet ski in need of Chestnut Tree House.
Since becoming a Dad, it has highlighted to me the wonderful work this local charity does and how it desperately needs all the help it can receive. The route is approximately nine and a half nautical miles, I need to recce the route and decide on a time I would like to bring it in at and then will look to create a sponsor page and highlight the event well in advance through my future blogs. Any constructive feedback on this? If so, please come into the Beach Office on Worthing seafront and discuss it with me!
Keep warm this week guys, see you out on the cobbles.
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I already knew this wasn't the case, but it prompted a quick drive on the ATV down to Widewater in Lancing to assess the situation.
The original call had come in from Trinity House asking if we could assist and extract a large special marker buoy that had partly beached and snagged on a groyne, thrashing about on our coastline.
On route to Widewater I had been stopped by a very concerned member of public who was convinced there was a torpedo in the surf, after a quick explanation the thought was eradicated from her mind!
Once on site I could see it was a large eight foot long special marker that had sheared off in the gales from Sussex Yacht Club. Even though the tide was ebbing, I wondered quite how I was going to extract the item as it was too much of a load for the ATV's winch ... then something handy passed my way.
Contractors on sea defence work were trundling along on their way back to Shoreham after bolstering the beach at Lancing. Thankfully, the machine driver was more than happy to help and safely teased the item off the groyne and up past the high tide mark.
Needless to say with the medium grade length of 10 meter chain still attached, I was very lucky and was saved a lot of sweat and grief on a rainy Wednesday.
Photo: Removing the marker buoy from the sea
Photo: The marker buoy safely out of the sea and up on the beach
During the winter months we as Foreshore Inspectors are almost constantly recovering large debris from our coastline in prevention of water hazards to shipping or bathers, yes bathers even in December with a sea temperature of 10 degrees!
Photo: Santa paddle boarding off Worthing Beach
Once again, thank you to our extra eyes and ears out there, your keen observations really can help us respond to situations quicker when you report them either directly to the office or when we're out on the ground.
This will be my last blog until after Christmas. Thank you for all your comments, likes and shares this year, it's nice to know the work of the Beach Office is being talked and thought about.
P.S. When passing feel free to check out the latest sea temperature now on display in the Beach Office, we had 22 degrees in the summer, now let's see how low it goes into 2019!
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It's been a manic, head thumping last few days in the media this week on both a local and international level.
So to avoid stressing your mind out too much with opinions or drama, I thought I'd share with you on a lighter story on how we at the Beach Office are always working to provide you with a low cost but high value service by exposing a general situation update ...
As another year draws to an end, I want to shed some light on my second duty and on an area that has come a long way in just nine months.
Since March of this year, I have taken on all aspects of the job relating to fisheries on our Worthing coastline; admin, licences, long-term ideas and plans, expansion and preserving the future of four main boat zones.
If you take a stroll along past any of our zones and our locker sites, I believe you will see a much more aesthetically pleasing, beach user friendly, efficient area along with better positioning all fishing vessels.
Unfortunately now only hosting two resident 'full time' fishermen on our stretch, you can appreciate how the bigger picture with the cost of living, licensing and the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) have all had an effect on the prosperity of our beach fleet in Worthing and other neighbouring south coast districts.
With this in mind, my colleagues and I at the Beach Office wanted to set an example for local authorities in accommodating anyone in this industry, both full-time, part-time or recreationally to the best of our ability.
Worthing's seaside look wouldn't be the same without the postcard look of Condor and Meechan fishing boats hauled up on the shingle. I do believe without them it would look somewhat desolate and less alluring. In this day and age though, for this element to have a home on our coastline, robust changes had to be implemented quickly and a long term profitable, viable plan drawn up.
Everything from rubbish amnesties, marking and removing hazards, disposing of un-seaworthy boats, evictions, encouragement and trust have all been created and led to 90% of our tenants creating well managed, professional boat zones under the guidance of us inspectors.
Having carried out a full 'Doomsday' book earlier on in the season, I have on record every locker site, winch box and boat on our shore. There are a couple of sites vacant and other plots for boats under 16' to be securely placed on our shore. So if you feel you might like to have your boat securely positioned for use on our shore then please contact myself at the Beach office.
Subject to our licence guidelines, size, location and meeting in person, this could become available to you at a very competitive rate and on the beach near you!
We still have issues to get our teeth into and one or two site issues to remedy, but I for one enjoy watching and helping our local fisherman and boat zones transform into something that I believe belongs exactly where it is.
Christmas in Sussex isn't all about Turkey and gammon! Support our local fisherman by picking up a fillet or two from Mr Jenkins opposite Onslow Court or Mr Booker on Windsor Lawns and mix up your Christmas taste buds!
Photos: Fisherman's boats and huts on Worthing Beach
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As a parent or carer, a missing adult or child is a moment in time when your heart sinks, and one you want to quickly forget once all is safe and well.
Last Sunday at 15:00, just as the light was failing on a gloomy wet afternoon, a missing person tasking (MISPER) came in as a requirement from Sussex Police who are one of many organisations we at the Beach Office work alongside. In this type of situation we are permitted to use our blue lights.
The MISPER in question was a young lady who had discharged herself from hospital. In situations like these our combined elements of Police units on the streets and roads plus us as Foreshore Inspectors scanning the seafront, we can have an area swept in minutes.
With a precise description of the MISPER noted down and our all-terrain vehicles mobilised along with a keen eye and binoculars, we had efficiently combed the beaches and all sites of interest up to our east and west boundaries; confident that she was not present.
From June, which is when our season really starts to kick off, the Beach Office team have reacted to assist in precisely ten missing persons incidents to date on our Adur and Worthing coastline. A few, we are proud to state we, have found personally by our units; a handful to the Police but most end in the MISPER heading to family or friends and subsequently being safe and well.
This is exactly what happened in this incidence, all units were stood down with the right agencies stepping up and liaising with the young lady in question once located.
All our MISPER searches are carried out with the same thoroughness, professionalism and empathy at all times, as nothing can be assumed or taken for granted.
Whether it's a MISPER through mental health issues, a lost child or vulnerable person, at the Beach Office we are confident in assuring you that we will have all are resources out and looking for the individual where practically possible.
Keep an eye out for one another, even more so at this time of year, and enjoy all that our Wintry coastline has to offer!
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In Worthing, more than 150 years ago it would have been a stint behind bars or hard labour, because why else would you be lighting a fire on the beach in Winter if not aiding smugglers? ... Keeping warm and having a social grouping wouldn't have passed as an excuse!
Luckily as Foreshore Inspectors we have more of an understanding than Worthing's customs officers of yesteryear, but of late 'beach fires' have been a real nuisance and a diversion of our resources.
Over the last few weeks our beaches have been washing up lots of random flotsam in the form of oil drums, plastics and driftwood on mass.
It's the latter that seems to be disappearing quicker, not through the fine work of our courageous litter teams but being burnt on our shore once darkness falls.
Sure, as Foreshore Inspectors we don't ever want to be seen as the 'fun police', but it's worth touching on why we don't permit open fires and putting some scenarios your way to shed some light (no pun intended).
We only ever seem to find the scar or remnants of fires on the shingle during our patrols the next morning, although unbelievably some are intercept in full swing during daylight.
Apart from filling the Prom and your clothes with smoke and in some areas damaging vital shingle flora, there are so many reasons why we cannot permit fires.
Most commonly we find the tail ends of timber still smouldering that have not been 'turned in'. It tends to be the debris under the embers which is the most hazardous, as sometimes it can be almost a buckets worth of nails that we pick up; which needless to say will really ruin your day if trodden on and probably mean a trip to A&E for a tetanus jab or trip to the vet.
The latest daylight fire I was called out to investigate was just beside our Pier on the east side, bizarrely enough the guys enjoying the heat couldn't see the possible threat to our Pier that the fire was creating and with an offshore wind blowing the smoke along the structure, even with many concerned members of public walking along the decking looking back this did not seem to dampen their efforts.
In a severity situation like this we react instantly and extinguish the fire, educate or evict from the beach, then clear the debris and scar from the shingle.
The only small contained fires that are permitted are from our resident beach Fisherman in the boat zones. Although not seen as practical these days, this is permitted in their prescriptive rights.
Lets reduce the hazards on our coastline and find heat with friends elsewhere, possibly in the form of the many Christmassy pubs and bars the other side of the stones?
OVER ... OUT ...
Everyone likes to sign off on a Friday with their mind free of stress ... So when I saw oil drums washing up on our coastline and expecting the worst on the coming nights tide, I wasn't best pleased.
Friday 16th at 3:30pm, the call came in that a lone Texaco oil drum had washed up on Goring beach. Immediately, the team sprang into action and our rehearsed drills took place.
Once on scene and I could get 'eyes on' the barrel, I could confirm to the senior Foreshore Inspector back at base that reports where correct and how the situation and hazard was presenting itself.
When it became clear to me that the barrel was still securely sealed, I along with two members of the cleansing team battled in the surf to retrieve and roll the item above the tide line.
Once the barrel was safely up of the high tide mark, I was able to photo any details, ID markings or barrel ownership. This was then relayed over to the Beach office and all information on the barrel and its location was sent to the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) for further investigation.
It was now dusk, and I still needed to bring the tractor over to Goring to extract the item from the beach and store it securely back at the Beach office, where it would await collection by our hazardous waste team.
Just then, things escalated a notch with reports of a second barrel in the surf near Windsor Lawns, Worthing. I then thought is this a large loss of cargo? Are the caps off spilling out oil? And could this escalate into an emergency situation?!
When I arrived at Windsor lawns it was now dark. Luckily the barrel was at the top of the beach on the high water mark, wedged against the groyne. I, along with a helping member of the public, manoeuvred the barrel into a safe position.
As Foreshore Inspectors, we pride ourselves on being able to react to most incidents that occur on our 10.5 mile area of operations, this was no exception.
The barrels were extracted and luckily no more were washed up.
As ever, we appreciate all the help and extra pairs of eyes watching our coastline and if you do notice any foreign objects floating about, please call us and let us know.
We will always deploy and investigate any calls and do our utmost best to protect our marine environment.
The drama created by the barrels has now gone from our shoreline, but the oily hands haven't!
OVER ... OUT ...
When it's there amongst the shingle, we all sometimes like to take the odd quirky stone or shell away from the beach, and this will not have any impact at all.
Although recently, and unfortunately yet again, we have seen a rise in the number of people filling up wheelbarrows and bags of all sizes with stones and sand from our beaches.
You won't be surprised to hear that these resources being taken, for either private or commercial use, will start to have big implications on the operation of our seafront.
Recently our coastline seems to be seen as a free builder's yard by some, with endless material of sand and flintstone available.
Our local coastline is home to some rare vegetation that's only found on undisturbed shingle, such as the SSSI nature reserve on Shoreham Beach (see photo right).
It's illegal to take shingle or plants from the beach. Overtime, other coastal areas have found this out at their peril.
If left unchecked, aside from overtime our shingle becoming depleted and not able to be replaced by a natural process that can take thousands of years, many adverse effects come with it, such as:
- Loss of habitat and grounding for our many sea kale and other fauna species
- Lowering our sea defence heights
- Reducing longshore drift, a constant but essential natural occurrence
As Foreshore Inspectors, we routinely intercept and stop this illegal activity if we notice it on our routine reconnaissance patrols.
We advise, return the product, caution, and inform the police or issue a penalty fine if required.
Please call the Beach office (01093 238977) if you witness this happening and help myself and the rest of the team protect your beaches.
Although to many the process may seem extreme, hopefully reading this blog will highlight and help you understand why we need to protect our foreshore's natural material.
If you have been naughty and taken sand for construction, be prepared for the worst ... all that salt makes for crumbly mortar, as many of Worthing's historic buildings are beginning to find out!
OVER ... OUT ...
It's been a wild and a windy week down at the Beach Office this week, as Wednesday saw the second major storm of Autumn hit our coastline.
The strong southerly wind of 34 knots (39 mph) timed with a 10:52am high tide of six and a half meters threw itself upon us.
Every so often the two coincide and deliver a ruthless two pronged attack on our shore.
Our beaches, which have recently been graded to winter heights, coped relatively well with the storm. Our pier, as robust as ever, stretches out and seems to take any punishment that the rolling waves can throw at it, even if the landing stage is flooded from sight! (One of many in its lifetime no doubt)
Days like this and the safety procedures we implement on the Pier and Lido will be common place from now on, with every storm being different and creating new challenges.
When we foresee a low front with high winds predicted, we create and keep a live log running throughout the duration of storm, noting the strength of gusts, wind, direction and any action taken.
We will close the landing stage and sometimes the pier itself in preparation of any storm with a high metreage of water and wind on top. This may seem an obvious procedure but without doing this there will inevitably be 'wave watchers' pushing their luck too far and possibly being swept into the sea.
Please note, if you see the landing stage locked, please respect that it is for your safety, even if the storm may have passed. In the aftermath of this storm, damage has been caused to the cast-iron floor grates and six have been lifted out of place by rolling waves and are awaiting imminent repair.
The last thing we want to do as Foreshore Inspectors is restrict your access to walking or fishing on the landing stage, but please keep out if the gates are locked.
Don't put yourself, others and possible rescue team in any unnecessary danger.
When a storm has passed all of our mobile reconnaissance units patrol the coastline east and west along with the pier, looking for hazards, damage, pollution and generally build up a situation report.
Once the reports are in we arrange for any repairs and take action accordingly by ourselves to restore our area of operations back to its former self.
Please note, all you keen beach litter pickers out there, this storm has delivered more plastics to the high tide mark, and fresh pickings to what are normally our pristine beaches.
Come on down and help the cause!
Photo: Storm waves breaking on the landing deck at the end of Worthing Pier
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Workplace or site visits always produce an enjoyable and worthwhile exercise. They are crucial in sharing standard operating procedures with other agencies that entwine with your own.
This week I was invited aboard Watchful, an 18 meter patrol vessel for the Inshore Fisheries Conservation Agency (IFCA), that operates out of Shoreham.
Watchful is complimented with twin caterpillar engines that can take her up to a speed of 23 knots throughout the IFCS district, which includes the Beach offices area of operations.
Whilst on patrol they enforce legal commercial fishing, ensure relevant practice is obeyed such as seasonal restrictions and that the number and positioning of nets is correct and lastly to protect MCZ areas (Marine Conservation Zones).
Being the Worthing Borough Council Foreshore Inspector that oversees fisheries in our 10.5 miles zone, it only seemed right to shadow the crew for the day and broaden my knowledge from the professional, dedicated crew of the IFCA.
The patrol orders were to make way to Chichester harbour, passing the choppy waters off Selsey Bill and into the harbour. Stealthily patrolling the Emsworth and Thorney channels to search for any vessels hauling Oysters, which has been stopped this season, starting on the 1st November, to enable stocks to recover due to a rapid decline. A culmination of water pollution and overfishing are mainly to blame.
Although not on our patch, it was great to see authorities stepping in and enforcing marine conservation.
Chichester harbour is also a Bass nursery zone, which is now teaming with them, chasing sand eels and small fry.
Heading back to Shoreham harbour through waters off Worthing and Lancing district, we check plotted gill nets set out by our beach fisherman and used the time to create a visual show of force.
With the UK leaving the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) in two years time, ensuring no illegal fishing by foreign vessels is taking place will be a big part of Watchful’s duties and hopefully she'll be bolstered by more sister vessels along the south coast to protect the marine environment, livelihoods and territorial waters.
There’s certainly a lot to debrief the other Foreshore Inspectors on once I’m back on shift!
OVER … OUT ...
Photo: Watchful is an 18 meter patrol vessel for the Inshore Fisheries Conservation Agency (IFCA)
Our coastline and foreshore contains many diverse habitats which hold an array of flora and fauna species, but none are more enchanting and alluring than the plantation on Goring Greensward.
It's a welcoming oasis that was once part of the Goring Hall grounds back in the day, now planted with the latest trend of tough tree species to suit the elements.
This linear feature running north to south changes dramatically as you head north with the better soil quality and wider mix of broadleaf trees and understory.
The section that falls under the Beach Offices overwatch and which we cover with our reconnaissance patrols is the lower south section. This area is unique in its own right, offering respite for migratory birds, harbouring a host of grey squirrels (like them or loathe them) and predominantly non-native Holm oak (Quercus ilex); which is growing and dominating the canopy with its suppressive nature but great windbreak qualities found within its dense timber.
Sycamore (Acer Pseudoplatanus) too heavily flank the edges. Canopies are curved away from the prevailing southwesterly wind, a reminder of how tough it is to thrive so close to the waterline and the punishment it can regularly deliver.
It's amazing how nature finds a way!
Both species seem to thrive in the poor soil and salty air, a stark difference once over the road into the next section.
As a Foreshore Inspector I'm lucky enough to engage with this site on a daily basis and observe its wonderful ways.
This area draws in nature lovers both young and old and offers shelter all year round, something that comes in especially useful during a brisk autumnal walk!
To keep this area of special woodland protected we enforce a handful of bye-laws, the same of which apply to the grass expanses of the greensward (see pic below).
As your foreshore service, we must reiterate the rules of no overnight camping, respecting the wildlife above and below your feet, and most importantly the disposing of barbecues responsibly is abided by.
Unfortunately during the summer many incidents occur with barbecues not disposed of responsibly in the green metal deposit slots, a situation which can have a devastating effect on an area such as Goring Greensward.
Be sure to walk the three sections of the plantation all the way to the sea and note how it changes, follow the bye-laws and enjoy this forgotten avenue all the way to our glorious coastline.
Photo: The woodland at Goring Greensward
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The edges of storm Callum brought a flurry of high winds, rolling waves, seaweed and the usual plastic waste to our coastline this week.
The beaches coped well due to the shingle grading we had worked on the week before. Volunteer litter pickers have also been working relentlessly, returning our beaches back to their usual pristine and safe condition.
The swell and waves causing the seabed to churn up and reshape our underwater landscape have brought about a healthy many of fish species to feed in close.
This week I need to talk about what I expect of you, as a recreational angler, when fishing from our coastline and state some key changes relating to the 'Bass ban' regulation.
I have received a number of calls this week regarding the 'taking of small fish' ... After these reports come in, I grab my fish size scale and head up to have a look. At the Beach office we work closely with the IFCA (Sussex Inshore Fisheries & Conservation Authority) in Shoreham which helps to keep catch sizes complied to.
To some the process of us investigating these claims, consulting and issuing a fixed penalty charge if required might seem futile or un-necessary; but the bigger picture is preserving our fish stocks for the future and educating sportsmen and women in their hobby and the environmental damage that can be caused.
Interaction with marine wildlife, both flora and fauna, are a key part of my job as a Foreshore Inspector and we are lucky to have such a diverse number of native species. All of which need the utmost respect and long term care.
For most of the year there has been a ban on keeping any Bass (Dicentrarchus labrax) caught by recreational anglers, this has now been amended until 31st December 2018 to allow only one Bass to be kept per angler and must be over 42cm.
Bass are one of our most prized, striking and tastiest fish in UK waters and a decline due to over-fishing has made the species plummet rapidly with not enough reaching maturity to spawn.
Yes, there is always a political element and other issues to the 'why and when' relating to the ban, but there is no doubt this specie in particular with its slow growth rate needs an action plan.
The next couple of years through leaving of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) will hopefully give the stocks the respite it so desperately needs and a long-term, sustainable plan created for the future of all our commercial fish species in UK waters.
Get out there though, enjoy fishing for this amazing species, respect them, let the largest most mature specimens go back to spawn, and always carry a measure scale and know your species!
Photo: A fisherman with the fish he has caught whilst night fishing
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With our water based season now at an end, the boats, Jet Ski and rescue kayak are off the water until May.
As your Foreshore service, we now primarily become a land based mechanised element, carrying out daily reconnaissance patrols and responding to on shore tasks from the Coastguard.
This week sees the return of jumbo Tonka toys to our coastline, making a swift start to essential beach defence work and leaving our beach sections in almost ski piste conditions for the coming winter or until the next gale force south-westerly and spring tide!
Contractors and council staff have been busy placing and grading shingle in key areas needed for coastal defence such as our high amenity areas of beach between the Lido to Splashpoint, then onto other planned areas east and west.
Taming, not controlling, Mother Nature is only temporary; but without this attention and proactive maintenance being carried out to our beaches, longshore drift and autumn/winter storm surges would devastate our promenade. Affecting our adjacent property and dramatically change the whole landscape of our beachfront.
The Victorians had the first practical solutions in combating and slowing longshore drift by installing our groyne system, mostly which is constructed with jungle hardwoods from the empire days, such as Greenheart.
Along with these trusty structures that are all individually numbered, we can add a modern day impact by deploying large 'plant' kit to move tonnes of shingle quickly and efficiently. This sort of technique just wasn't viable or even practical all those years ago!
Suitable hardwood timbers are not readily available for sustainability reasons and cost these days, so repairs such as the horizontal planking is made with softwood, but generally the structural upright pile will be original hardwood as the oxygen and elements are slow to degrade the timber under the sand and shingle, void of air.
At the beach office we aren't directly involved in the groundwork, but we oversee the larger area beyond their safety cordon and warn/prevent interruptions both intentionally or accidentally from occurring.
It draws a crowd of admirers both young and old and it's quite satisfying to watch the shingle effortlessly graded off.
Come and have a watch, grab a cuppa, respect the safety cordon and see for yourself.
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Photo: Bulldozer moving shingle on Worthing seafront
With our current sea temperatures averaging 16.2 degrees this week, water activity has been very busy, not with the swimming kind but domestic pleasure craft.
This time of year offers great visibility, gentle offshore winds and comfortable sunshine, all of which make venturing onto the water ideal.
During my time blogging for the Beach office, I like to inform, educate and hopefully pass on some key life saving tips.
One alarming event that occurred on Thursday 4th October highlights the behind the scenes issues and complications one simple event can create, which could have all been prevented if a couple of simple steps had been followed.
The call came in that a rigid inflatable boat (RIB) was drifting 200 meters off the beach at Brooklands Park, Worthing. Immediately my colleague Tommy mobilised to gain 'eyes on' and report back his findings. Many adverse things could have happened such as, loss of power, fatality, injuries or migrant vessel.
Whilst en-route the Solent Coastguard had contacted us tasking us to assist where possible. Already the pressure was on ...
Once Tommy had located the craft and observed through binoculars, he noticed the crew were free-diving, possibly spear fishing; but fundamentally drifting whilst not leaving one crew member on-board to react to situations and not displaying a 'diver down' flag, one that must be flown on the dive boat to inform others of their intentions and help protect the lives of the divers from other boats and water activity.
Contact could not be made on VHF channel 16, which is the calling channel for all vessels, so he proceeded to broadcast through the ATV's loudspeaker. The divers made off to another location further east near Shoreham Harbour before diving again.
Ten minutes later we were contacted by Shoreham National Coastwatch Institution (NCI), located in the watch tower at Shoreham fort to advise us of a vessel carrying out the same activity without any crew left on board or relevant dive flag flown. This was obviously the same crew in question.
By this time with Tommy beach side we managed to contact the work boat 'Erica' who was close by collecting our yellow swim buoys and ask her to investigate, she made contact alongside and the situation was remedied.
Making sure you have in possession and display the correct kit when enjoying water activities is crucial in taking your sport seriously, making the day run smooth and crucially preserving your life. If these steps had been followed, it would have would have prevented multiple agencies unnecessary stress and loss of man hours, ultimately pulling resources away.
At the Beach office, we accept mistakes are made and only wish to see these remedied for next time.
As ever for advice or assistance call the Beach Office: 01903 238977
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Whilst we bask in late season sunshine this week, storm Ali with it's gale force winds and large swell seems a distant memory.
With nothing too precarious being washed up, we got off fairly lightly. Although the clean-up of tiny fragments is still very much underway.
It's all the small fragments of cord and plastic that remain on the tideline, and on mass create the biggest environmental issue with inhalation by Fauna species both above and below the water line.
Luckily we've had a steady flow of keen locals of all ages come into the Beach office this week! All looking to help our cleansing team catch up with the detritus and get our beaches back to our own high standard that we set here in Worthing.
One group that stood out was Adur and Worthing's very own small but ruthless gang of volunteers from different services within the Council.
Francesca, Yan and Louisa gave up their time from other duties to sweep our beaches clean of litter from Splashpoint to Heene Road, made all the better and more rewarding in the refreshing sunshine.
Everything from rubber strips, netting, deflated balloons and foreign drinks bottles were collected and removed from the beach. It just goes to show how much waste there really is drifting about in our seas and sadly the English channel too. Most of the time no fault of our own ...
This is why we believe education is key, and as a service we actively promote the idea of getting involved with a 'five minute' beach clean.
When passing the Beach office you will notice our A-board with litter pickers and bags for your use. We find the more we get you involved the more pride and respect you have for what is a stunning coastline. If left in a natural state and not needlessly, intentionally or maliciously polluted by shall I say unsavories in society.
So get involved! If you are a local Worthing business or individual with only five minutes or so to spare, touch base with us at the Beach office and we will supply all the equipment needed right up to first aid assistance should it be needed.
I will happily put a mention on my blog with a photo to show off your haul!
So come on in, there's a litter picker with your name on it.
Photo: Louisa, Yan and Francesca from the Council
Photo: Tim Winter, Foreshore Inspector, with the litter picking equipment during the summer
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Its here, the UK's first named storm of the season.
Storm Ali hit our coastline on Wednesday and brought with it the usual issues and came as a stark reminder of the season slipping away into the more turbulent months that lay ahead.
The front was predicted and noticed by us early enough to be able to plan accordingly.
Luckily the winds, of up to 35 knots on Wednesday and 46 knots on Thursday, came upon us with the tide retreating (ebbing) during daylight hours. This always makes the situation safer and easier for us to control; but yes I'll agree less dramatic!
With fishing boats not needing to be hauled further up the shingle, to avoid the tidal surge, and areas of the Prom needing to be cordoned off; we focused our attention to any harmful washed up detritus and removing the hazards swiftly.
In a storm, especially a strong gale force south westerly, lots of 'foreign objects' are found stranded on our normally impeccably clean beaches. Mainly thanks to our voluntary beach clean groups and dedicated individuals may I add!
During storm Ali we've had everything from Chinese spray cans, French wine bottles and large sections of groyne wood; a big threat to shipping and small boats alike with their weight, angles and exposed bolts/screws. Not forgetting the usual plastics including road cones and fruit crates ...
Over a summer season that was so settled with high pressure and gentle easterly or offshore winds, this big blow has awoken the seabed to unfortunately produce its worst. Man-made I will shamefully add.
Apart from our mobile reconnaissance patrols combing our coastline looking for hazards, we rely on as many 'eyes and ears' as possible. If you're walking our beaches over the next day or two and notice a dangerous object being large sections of wood, plastics or objects that you don't want to identify for uncertainty, please call us here at the Beach office where we will be on scene as soon as possible.
Take yourself or the family down to walk the tideline, beachcombing can be fun and who knows what you'll find ... We found a message in a bottle last year, just saying!
Photo: Foreshore Inspector Rob Dove collecting some timber whilst on patrol
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The pressure has eased a little now as the holidays are over and the kids are back at school.
It's a chance to admin our rescue kit, boats and equipment; and deep clean certain aspects of them that the constant demand throughout the summer just doesn't allow us to do.
It's then standby for the last busy push towards October, should the weekends be warm enough before reducing our rescue elements to land based only.
September and October though are my favourite months of the year. The cooler, dewy, mornings that slowly transitions into warmth by midday and is finally followed by an earlier sundown and darkness by half seven.
Not only does this climatic change bring noticeable differences in our weather, it also varies and diversifies our fauna species, which reside on our coast as autumn begins to knock.
This time of the year crosses over with the summer season and therefore a rich array of species is found both above and below the waves, as newcomers arrive and others start to move off to hotter climates.
As a Foreshore Inspector, one key element is that you are in tune with the seasons, reading tidal patterns, and making environmental observations. In my job it's an added bonus to be out witnessing the seasons crossover whilst actively patrolling our area of operations.
Whilst on routine patrol this week, I've noticed an array of seasonal wildlife moving in.
Firstly a Phoca vitulina, which is a common/harbour seal, on Goring beach, where over the years I have seen others. Female common seals tend to haul themselves up the shingle at this time of year to prepare for birthing or rest up before travelling onto other historic nursery areas ingrained in their senses. Needless to say the Seal soon slid off back into the water once I was noticed on the ATV, so no picture I'm afraid folks!
White Egrets, Ardea alba, are also gracing our shores in small flocks of 5 to 6. Sifting and stabbing amongst the flint rock pools at low water, catching the shrimp and fry in preparation for the next 5 months, another noticeable change.
In our waters Channel Whiting Merlangius merlangus are now being caught too. A sure sign the days of a balmy 22 degrees sea temperature are far behind us!
Be sure to keep an eye out for seasonal visitors starting to compliment our shores. We've had our time on the beaches over the glorious summer of 2018, now it's their turn.
Photo: Maintaining one of our ATVs
Photo: A seagull sitting on our safety boats on Worthing Beach
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With both sea and air temperatures staring to tail off and a dew setting in most mornings, it really does look like the best is over as autumn starts to knock. The kids are back at school, leaving almost deserted beaches for our wildlife to enjoy undisturbed.
With less beach goers clearly obvious, calls from keen equine enthusiasts wanting to exercise their horses and ponies has gained momentum.
At the Beach Office we encourage horse riders to unload, ride and load at the Ferring end of our Area of Operations (AO), as parking, unloading and tacking up is safest there. Unfortunately though I've been asking riders to avoid our beaches of late as the sediment condition just isn't suitable for hooves due to excessive flint exposure.
The sand sediment on our coastline chops and changes with tides and current, and there just isn't the coverage to warrant anything more than a walk or slow trot of late.
At the Beach office we always try to accommodate every activity within reason and I'm the first to admire the overly natural and timeless sight in seeing horses grace our coastline.
The alternative at present is to head just west of our western boundary at Sea Lane, Ferring, where the sand opens up, so for now at least I'd recommend riding further this way. Always recce the spot you wish to ride to avoid disappointment and make contact with the relevant district council to check events or a change in circumstances have not changed the opportunity to ride.
Arun Council byelaws state:
Horses are not permitted on the beaches of Arun between 10am and 6pm on any day between 1st May and 30th September.
Foreshore office, Littlehampton: 01903 731378
Worthing Council byelaws state:
Horses are not permitted on the beaches of Worthing between 10am and 8pm on any day between 1st May and 30th September.
Worthing Beach office: 01903 238977
The benefits of horse riding for both rider and beast are clear to see but among the different textures for your horse and stretching their limbs, keep an eye out for dogs on our beaches and the possible hazard for both, dogs can potentially become excitable and more difficult to recall when curious of a large object, likewise horses can be spooked and frightened of smaller animal friends if approached.
Please be situationally aware.
Also, flints, soft or very hard sand can cause serious injury to horses, especially at speed.
Do not ride in the water if you cannot see the bottom: there may be hidden debris or rocks, so be careful.
Enjoy the freedom and quieter beaches if on or off horseback and riders be sure to wash and polish that tack after each beach excursion!
Photos: Riding on the beach
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Never before has the coastline in Sussex bay ever seen such a dramatic change.
Like it or loathe it, the Rampion wind farm is here to stay ...
Since work was commissioned in 2014, our coastline has become a hive of activity, with some drama along the way, famously in the form of 'Moby dig' that was eventually pulled from our seabed in June 2017, the Beach Office are playing a key role in beach-side safety on that day in particular.
All 116 turbines stand tall at 140 meters high and every detail can be seen on a crisp clear day.
Photo: Every detail of the giant turbines of the Rampion wind farm can be seen on a clear day
Everyday there is something to watch, especially if passing near Brooklands with barges, work platforms, tugs and dive boats slogging it out to have works complete ready for the grand 'switch on' later in 2018.
The last time Worthing and Lancing saw such an amount of large vessels on the coastline was during WW2 with Shoreham harbour playing a key role throughout the battle.
This week the continuation of laying 16km of offshore export cable is well underway and all marine traffic is forced to give a 500 meter passing distance.
Apart from the contribution to renewable energy, as a Foreshore Inspector I'm personally hoping our marine flora and fauna will also benefit as a result.
The area of turbines standing proud will deny any access to commercial trawling or dredging and prevent damage to the seabed, meaning it will inevitably quickly become re-established with native flora seabed species.
One aspect to a healthy seabed is the habitat it creates for our many fish and crustacean species. If left alone, and this is key, the area will quickly produce a safe nursery zone for fish in particular, which once full to an uncomfortable capacity, will inevitably start to spill out offering sustainable catches in the surrounding areas.
All this would be a great benefit for our local fisherman who use 'low impact' gillnetting methods (see Wikipedia) could help catches recover to levels last seen before the use of heavy commercial fishing gear.
Sometimes, and believe me not often, human intervention really can help increase biodiversity in an area. This day and age mind-sets really should be focused on the long-term benefit for both man and beast.
Here at the Beach office on Worthing seafront we're keeping a keen eye on the Rampion progress, so here's to the hopeful benefits.
Photo: Rampion equipment being transported across the seafront and out to sea
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With the soaring temperatures, gentle warm easterly winds and barmy evenings already a distant memory; it can seem totally different out there of late.
To be honest though, we were spoilt for over two glorious months. What prevails now; a moderate south westerly and broken sunshine is typically a normal 'Worthing day by the sea'. Although the air temperature may be a tad cooler, our sea temperature has only dropped a digit to 21 degrees, still comfortably warm.
Our mid daytime temperatures are tending to average 21 degrees, yes the difference is noticeable but don't be fooled into a false sense of security when it comes to those UV rays, especially with young ones and the elderly.
Unfortunately a recent situation with a severely dehydrated elderly gentleman on our Promenade has made me bring the power of the sun to your attention once more.
It is a misconception that the sun is not as strong due to the wind were experiencing, not even the strongest of winds on a summers day will stop the rays of the earth's hottest planet from reaching your more than likely unprotected skin! If you are planning a day by the sea, regardless of age, please apply sun cream as you have been of late, keep going until October, especially if were in for an Indian summer. Anyway it will leave you with a better quality tan!
I'm just noticing too many red, flushed faces leaving the beach this week.
If your kids are exerting energy in the surf, or busy sitting building Worthing's next temporary battle defences, maintain the application and the attention to their welfare as you would if down here a few weeks back, many will drop into a worse sense of dehydration during this weather window as the cooler breeze will make them forget and not necessarily let you know of their dehydrated state.
My essential kit list for all ages reiterated once more:
- Sun cream (min factor 15)
- spare T-shirt to protect the shoulders (to get wet if necessary)
- Food, with added natural sea or rock salt
- Water - h20 - don't rely on fizzy soft drinks or worse
- UV protection sunglasses
Don't get complacent and allow our summer to sting you as it tapers off, for now at least, but who knows ...
For safety advice, first aid or treatment for dehydration call in to the Beach office, you'll be in safe hands.
Photo: Rob on the seafront with his son
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A break in the madness found its way to me this week with a snippet of annual leave.
The bustle of Worthing's coastline one step behind me as the demands and rewards of entertaining our 2 month old baby took centre stage.
Goring, Worthing, Lancing and Shoreham beaches gave way to the sandy...er local beaches of LA (Littlehampton) and when visiting family Lee-on-Solent and Gosport.
As someone who can't really switch off too much when 'officially stopped', I always seem to be sneakily comparing or digesting different counties/districts harbour or coastline services or amenities, much to the annoyance of my wife!
This week on what has been a regular early morning stroll to Rustington and onto Littlehampton Prom with dog, baby, pram and enough kit to bring back memories of wilder days, I'm always in awe of the vast expanse of golden sand and the clean, modern pedestrianised harbour walkway. The local Foreshore office and RNLI lifeguards ensuring bye-laws and designated swim zones are kept safe in what I noticed was a professional and dedicated manner.
Lee-on-Solent with its compact beaches, historic wartime relics that seem to act like a magnet for kids to play on for the last 70 years, and its chaotic water activity all bring a breath of fresh air to my usual coastline surroundings.
Being an Adur & Worthing Councils Foreshore Inspector, I feel confident and yes slightly biased in saying that I feel Worthing beach office and our resources available still have the edge in land based reconnaissance and water safety over a much larger area than beaches I've visited this week.
Council services throughout the land will always try to deliver the best they can at a time when budgets are anorexic, but at the Beach office our most effective and unique method is that we are regularly 'pro-actively' patrolling on land and sea and therefore able to intercept situations before the Coastguard or Lifeboat are launched, normally when it's too late. This crucial practice is just not available to most districts.
Over the years, Worthing Beach office really has adapted and is still evolving to keep our locals and visitors safe within our 10.5 miles of responsibility. On-going training, local interaction and new ideas/elements such as our Kayak rescue & response help to keep our flame bright and are service unique.
Stay tuned for next Friday's blog when I return to duty from my RnR.
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This week's weather really has been split down the middle.
Early in the week myself and the team were frantically trying to cover our whole 10.5 mile area on both land and sea providing safety overwatch on what were bustling beaches, to only transform into deserted swathes of coastline from Wednesday afternoon onwards. That rare phenomenon 'rain' being the factor, although not yet dampening our current sea temperature of a barmy 22 degrees.
Much needed and refreshing to see, the rain brings a sense of calmness and a chance to catch your breath as a Foreshore inspector in 2018's summer of summers so far.
This week a noticeable draw on our resources has been right on our doorstep, being the Pier.
For all it's grand stature and panache on top, both man and beast are drawn like a magnet to its underside and its dark, mysterious lure. Like all of the facilities on our coastline, it's all about finding a balance that's fair and accommodating for everyone, it can be a constant challenge!
Our Pier has given us everything from kids climbing high underneath to jet skis congregating and operating too fast around the underside to lastly Spear fishermen creating a wave of concerned interest, to which I will touch upon.
Spear fishermen or 'Speros' as we call ourselves have this week been active around the cast iron pylons and Greenheart timbers of this man made habitat that our Pier creates.
Photo: Kevin, a local spear fisherman, on Shoreham Beach
Mullet and Bream shoal between the horizontal and parallel angles, Rays, Flounder and Plaice are all hunkered down in the pockets of sand and sediment at this time of the year and are all legal on the 'take list'.
British waters can provide some of the best spearfishing in the world, once the hunter has mastered the basic techniques and the problems normally posed by our cold water, strong tides and limited underwater visibility.
Spearfishing can create an array of interest and complaints from the decking above as some feel it can look aggressive or threatening. I can appreciate their concerns, it can sometimes look like the SBS are active below (SBS = Special Boat Service of the United Kingdom's Royal Navy).
Spearfishing is a recognised, selective and sustainable method of fishing in UK waters and is permitted along our coastline and only illegal in the non tidal reaches of Britain's rivers.
Just like 95% of land based Anglers, Speros take their sport seriously and professionally. Specie identification, respecting the 2018 Bass ban and only taking a sustainable number of targeted fish for the pot is at the forefront of their mind.
Being both, I am keen to strike a safe and fair balance for every aspect of fishing.
As Foreshore inspectors we will always intercept and investigate the situation if complaints are made, normally approaching by means of our safety kayak.
The only times we will strongly advise against or cease Spear fishing on a particular day is if we feel public safety could be compromised such as:
- Weather conditions are drawing bathers into the surrounding area
- Over interest or hostility from the decking above
- Conflict between recreational Anglers and Speros
- Reports of Bass (Dicentrarchus labrax) being targeted or taken
- Undersized fish taken
- Complaints of 'ill discipline' from Speros (muzzle awareness)
As I mentioned, the conditions on the day will dictate whether this method of fishing can go ahead. A general rule is for it to cease by 10am in the Summer season, I find this accommodates everyone and all Speros I've approached via water have agreed.
At the Beach Office everyone's water interest and safety is a the forefront of what we do, wave us down or call us on 01903 238977 should you have a concern or just want advise or knowledge ... We will try our best!
Enjoy the liquid sunshine.
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This week our shores were graced by a natural occurrence rarely seen in the huge quantities that were once common place in Worthing even up to thirty years ago...
Seaweed is the culprit.
After eight long weeks of uninterrupted sunshine, low offshore winds and the sediment in our waters dropping, the visibility was crystal clear and depending on what side you sit on, none of Worthing's famous or infamous seaweed was anywhere in sight.
A low front bringing the familiar south westerly wind and some rare rain eventually retreated leaving beached maritime flora strewn on our districts beaches.
Yes it can look potentially unsightly, but altogether it's a completely natural occurrence.
An abundance of beach fauna rely on its decaying state and with the next few tides have the situation in control and off our beaches.
Worthingites of yesteryear would have made the most of a huge seaweed bounty, as over the years most of Worthing's rich soil has been fed and nourished by this occurrence. It used to be a common sight seeing horse and carts in a long line along our Prom harvesting this free compost for its rich organic qualities.
With food limited in past times up until as recent as World War Two; it was high on our locals pallets, being more nutrient dense than any land vegetables. It is an excellent source of micronutrients including folate, calcium, magnesium, zinc, iron, selenium and iodine.
Unfortunately, with the rise in worldwide pollution and modern trawling methods, our seaweed struggles to root and establish like it used to in simpler days gone by.
Take this opportunity to learn and admire our native seaweed species. Pop into the Beach Office and let us print you off a guide with pictures or bring a guide book and wander our warm shallows.
Keep an eye out for the channel wrack, egg rack and the enormously long qualities of forest kelp, every fishes ideal habitat! This stuff can grow up to a meter a day.
With a sea temperature of 19.5 degrees, don't let our harmless marine flora put you off a dip in our glorious coastline. Get a few meters out past the seaweed and even the most extreme cases of 'Seaweed Phobia' will stay suppressed!
Grit your teeth and go for it!
Photo: Seaweed on Worthing Beach near the Pier
Photo: Seaweed on Shoreham Beach near the Shoreham Harbour arm
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Another week of man and beast enjoying this seemingly endless warmth in our green and pleasant land, or should I say brown and crispy land ...
With the first week of the kids summer holidays upon us, myself and the team really are having to fire on all cylinders to make sure we have all grounds covered in our 10.5 miles to overwatch and deliver our water safety and foreshore service.
All of our safety vessels have been proactively patrolling across our waters this week, looking for by-law breaches and keeping water users safe.
Our new safety kayak is actively busy between Splashpoint and the Lido, feeding back reconnaissance and assisting where necessary in the relative shallows.
The feedback from beach users towards this newly introduced element has been very humbling. With one parent suggesting she would only let her kids use their foam bodyboards if she saw the safety kayak in the area; for us as a service this is mission accomplished.
With another hot week ahead, I have to address the use of inflatables, sorry to be a killjoy folks but we generally discourage them ...
In their weird and wonderful shapes/characters (flamingos and unicorns) I see the obvious fun, but the trouble is the tide and the wind.
An offshore wind can be detrimental to both adults and children if afloat during these windy conditions. A regular tasking for us is to recover inflatables that have been swept away with their human cargo aboard.
If you do decide to use an inflatable of an kind, ensure the wind is 'onshore' and either stay in the shallows or tie rope from the inflatable to a person ashore or nearby groyne.
Be sure to look at the Beach office flag poles when you pass, if you see an orange windsock flying, that denotes an offshore wind.
It's great to have our beach section between the Pier and Lido so busy with all ages enjoying themselves under our immediate watchful eye.
Please bear in mind that our team does need to operate and launch safety craft regularly using this part of the beach. We will always have your interests at heart, but please comply swiftly if asked to make way for a boat launch or recovery.
On this note, if you are nervous about entering the water or want a greater 'eyes on' from the Beach office team, please bathe in between the Lido and the Pier, no where could be safer on Worthing's beaches, with a regular lookout on tripod binoculars scanning the area from base.
Also, be sure to grab a free deckchair from the Beach office for use solely between the lido and Pier, we only ask that their back to us by 5:00pm daily.
Keep hydrated folks ...
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With sea temperatures in Worthing hitting 21.5 degrees this week, us humans are not the only ones enjoying its inviting warmth ...
A blue shark spotted in St Ives and trigger fish caught off the Sussex coast only highlights the rising temperatures in this so far glorious summer.
As ever us humans are only mere visitors when it comes to entering into the sea, the fish would say “Like a human out of land”.
This week we received a telephone call from a member of public in Lancing who had been bathing off Widewater beach and had been stung by a drifting jellyfish.
Me and one of my seasonal boat operators, Esme, attended the scene to find a young lady clutching her slightly swollen leg and wondering what to do next. It was a Compass jellyfish that had stung 'Chrysaora hysoscella' and had beached on the flint cobbles shortly after stinging the lady.
Compass jelly fish are native to UK waters and after breeding in May they are venturing closer ashore with the rising temperatures.
The Compass jellyfish can cause harm to humans with the venom in its tentacles. It's quite recognisable with its brown/beige colour, bold dots and striking lines around its main body.
Photo: Compass jellyfish
Very different to the florescent blues and pink of the Portuguese man o' war 'Physalia physalis' that had been coming ashore along our coast last year (for photos see Graham's blog from 17th October 2017).
I must add, the Portuguese man o' war is not a true jellyfish but a siphonophore and this is what I feared had stung the member of public.
After removing an attached tentacle with tweezers and flushing the affected area with hot water to release the toxins, the stinging stopped and only slight tingling remained. After 15 mins and once I was happy the swelling hadn't increased and that there were no further symptoms, the lady was taken home.
So far we have only had Compass jellyfish appear around the Lancing/Shoreham area.
I must add though that although these incidents happen, they are rare and no one has ever died from a jellyfish sting in the UK, morbid I know but worth telling!
If you are stung by a jelly fish ensure you:
- Remain calm
- Call the Beach office: 01903 238977
- Sit down
- Flush the affected area with hot water
- Pick any tentacles off with tweezers only
- Hydrate yourself with water
- Stay with someone until all symptoms pass
- If symptoms become more severe, or a more sensitive part of the body has been stung, you should seek medical help.
Our local waters are very safe below and on top, get out there enjoy it as you would. Be prepared for the adverse should it happen, look out for each other and have fun.
See you on the water ...
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Water safety is our bread and butter here at the Beach office and on Sunday 8th July we were happy to assist with delivering this for the Worthing Triathlon 2018.
Its an early start for us and the crew, even earlier for the participants dealing with nerves, preparations and conditioning/feeding their bodies for the rigours ahead.
The conditions were perfect for the event; a gentle force one offshore breeze blew with the sun burning hot in the sky, even at 6am.
A week ago I ran a training afternoon on the water with our crews to put our casualty water extractions into practice and blow off any cobwebs. Lifting on board, deploying safety devices and theory were refreshed to a competent level.
Preparations for all on-board kit were made a few days before to ensure we had all that we needed on the safety boats for deployment to the event. Throw rings, throw lines, first aid kits and extraction kits ticked on board along with all the other equipment needed for a day on the water should the situation develop for any adverse reason.
Kit admin is key to our service running efficiently. It's true that 'no plan survives contact' but with our training and rescue kit at our disposal we were confident we could adapt to any situation the Triathlon could throw at us!
Both safety boat one & two and jet ski with recovery board were in position by 6:30am awaiting the start at 7am.
With the blow of a whistle, on mass a wall of warriors ran into the water to begin a series of swims. Constantly monitoring the situation is key to us providing the water cover needed, constantly relocating safety boats and keeping one eye out for struggling contestants and one on water traffic is no easy feat.
This year all participants completed the race with no recoveries needed, mission accomplished. Levels of fitness were through the roof, well done if you were one!
It was then a swift return to base on a sea of blue glass for tea and medals, well tea anyway ... ;)
Previous years we've had up to 17 rescues needed on this event, granted the weather was adverse. This proves why water safety is so important at coastal events and should always be put in place.
We relish working hand in hand with events and providing safety cover.
If you require our assistance or simply want general safety advice, please touch base.
See you on the water!
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One of our many working hour roles and responsibilities as a Foreshore inspector is the overseeing and security of our 131 council and 244 private beach huts.
On every patrol, our overt mobile reconnaissance patrols actively look for any natural or malicious damage to the structures, checking for hygiene of the surrounding area and any attempted or successful break-ins, which do occur I am reluctant to add.
If any of break-ins do occur, we promptly inform the tenant or owner, arrange for repairs if tenanted and work with the Police supplying evidence and information of what has happened.
This is quite rare though. Mostly, when I pass, I think that the beach huts do add a certain something to our seafront. I feel the Adur and Worthing foreshore would look strangely desolate without them.
For centuries hybrids of our modern day beach hut have provided shelter, changing facilities, and a family home from home touch for a day by the sea.
The origins of the first Worthing beach hut comes from the 1800s when simple vehicles, horse-drawn and on wheels, designed for the use of the wealthy and were evidence of a radical new fascination with the sea. Before this, no one but fishermen and smugglers used our local beaches.
Then local doctors from Heene Road and Worthing Hospital began to prescribe the cold sea bath as the latest 'cure-all' remedy. The sick went to the coast to be treated and took their families with them.
These people needed accommodation and entertainment, and so the modern concept of the seaside town was born.
Worthing was quick to accommodate and embrace this new market, aside from its steady incomes from fishing and market gardening.
Worthing's motto : 'EX TERRA COPIAM E MARI SALUTEM' - From the land fullness and from the sea health - compliments the reference to the benefits of sea bathing.
Photo: Worthing's motto seen on Worthing Town Hall, Chapel Road
With our sea temperature currently steady at 19 degrees I couldn't think of a better time to take a dip or swim a mile.
Much has now changed up to 2018 but the primary goal is much the same.
We really do appreciate and do our best to accommodate and provide a professional service to our beach hut residents.
We greatly receive your efforts in becoming more 'eyes & ears' and you often relay information to us when an incident of an environmental or public safety nature should occur.
If you too would like the opportunity to rent a beach hut from the council and become one of the beach-side community, please refer to the council website and register your details on the waiting list.
Alternatively call our Beach huts and chalets administration section:
01273 263040 or 01273 263045
See you when we're passing.
Photo: Beach huts on Worthing seafront
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The sun is high and hot, the sea full of that glorious turquoise colour and our beaches instantly transform into the most inviting areas you could wish to be.
Our Art Deco Pier shimmering in the heat and with its colourful county flags fluttering it looks a picture, ever more so this year.
Both man and beast seem to be drawn like a magnet to its lure and life seems to slow down somewhat; and why not.
A concern worth raising though is the need to look after your body when the sun relentlessly shines down upon us.
Having spent close to a year of my military career in the desert, I feel I have the experience and grounding to put my head out of the parapet and advise you on taking care of yourself and others when it gets redders out there! I'm seeing far too many people on our coastline go home sporting the 'Salmon pink' tan, only to cringe at the damage inflicted to their body and the regret that will set in overnight!
Here are my words of wisdom ...
Preparing your kit well in time before your visit to the beach, such as the night before, it will make your day much more enjoyable, cheaper and less stressful, trust me!
Basic personal items should include:
- Full refillable drinks bottle containing water (min 2 litres)
- Sun cream not oil
- SPF t-shirt (should it all become too much)
- Staple meals in container form
- UV sunglasses
Hydration is of course key, our bodies are on average 60% water, so on days like were currently having, consume at least 2.5 litres of water, pop and alcohol don't count and will NOT hydrate you.
Along with hydration, food is almost as important - its essential to keep the body's salts topped up to keep yourself and especially young and elderly ones in tip top form for a days fun by the water. Be sure to still consume three staple meals a day, bring them in picnic form, you can always take them home.
Apply sun cream at least 20 mins before exposure to the sun regardless of your age, apply it lavishly, paying particular attention to the face, shoulders, neck, ears, toes and soft areas of skin, you'll be glad you did!
Be sure to recognise the signs of dehydration - dry mouth, difficulty concentration, sore eyes, light headedness and muscle cramps
When you've decided on your beach position, be sure to note the nearest fresh water tap. They are dotted along the Prom - please use them! Dont 'beast it out', there's no pride in that!
Its our job as Foreshore inspectors to keep you safe both on and off the water, if your suffering from the heat at any point or if you need specific facilities or simply want to locate fresh water, pop in and see a member of the team.
Make the most of our stunning beaches this weekend but know when to call it a day, look after yourself and your comrades.
Photo: Kitesurfing at Lancing Beach
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Water safety on your coastline is our bread and butter at the Beach Office! Whether this be very close inshore on our fabulous new rescue kayak element, or the jet ski in water over a meter, and two rescue RIBS beyond that, we have it covered.
Occasionally though we are required to react to an incident before the lifeboat can or should be launched. One such event happened on the 4th June 2018 when a yacht without power passed through our area of operations (AO), causing us to investigate and assist where possible.
Late lunchtime on the 4th, I was patrolling in our rescue kayak when I became aware of a situation ashore where my colleagues were trying to locate and get an 'eyes on' a yacht that was reported adrift moving east to west on the horizon. Solent Coastguard had contacted the Beach office to assist in locating the position of the yacht, after numerous phone calls from concerned water users.
The foreshore inspectors and seasonal boat operators ashore had the situation in hand as I returned to shore just in case we needed to launch.
Operatives were sent to advantage points at the far southern end of the Pier and Lido to get a wider field of view as the tripod binoculars scanned the horizon from the Beach office. The 20ft yacht in question was located by the team on the horizon due south of Grand Avenue beach in Worthing.
Solent coast guard was informed of our findings and then we were immediately tasked to assist the yacht and relay further information once on the scene.
This is when our discipline of kit admin and equipment readiness pays dividends as myself and one crew were waterborne in minutes and at 15:35 with blue lights flashing, we were en-route!
The yacht was located close to 1.5 nautical miles offshore and with a force 4 offshore north easterly blowing she was drifting west fast.
Once we arrived at the scene on our 90hp RIB we informed base of the situation and then began talking direct to Solent coastguard.
The gentleman on board had been adrift for close to 12 hours and had lost all power for his VHF radio and his personal mobile was out of battery, he was voiceless and feeling very alone! His malfunctioning anchor made the situation worse as we were adrift constantly.
Once we had given the lone crew on board hydration and gained personal and vessel information the decision was made to launch the lifeboat from Littlehampton so as they could tow the yacht safely into harbour. Shortly after the lifeboat arrived and the situation was handed over to the RNLI.
We then made our way back to the boathouse against a choppy sea having left the situation not far off Rustington weather station two miles offshore.
Once ashore we were debriefed by Solent coastguard and made aware of the successful tow back into Littlehampton.
Every so often we do receive reports and react to situations like this one, it's always a privilege to work hand in hand with the RNLI and we hope in doing so we speed up the carriage of information and assess the viability of them launching.
If you to witness a situation occurring at sea, please call the coastguard on 999 and it may well be us at the Beach office launched to react!
Keep a lookout on the water.
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The British have always had an obsession and fascination with speed and the noise it creates. From the Merlin engine and agility of the Spitfire, the challenges of the Isle of Man TT to Formula One, it's almost as cultural as queuing with a cup of tea in one hand and a slice of Victoria sponge in the other!
This obsession applies to land and sea, that's when it becomes a challenging aspect for the Beach office team.
45-65 MPH on flat water with masses of open space would sound fun and exciting to anyone, and it is, I wont deny that. Conditions of late with offshore winds have created beautifully flat seas around our coastline, offering great conditions to launch, run and recover a jet ski with ease. The launch ramp at Goring being exceptionally busy with them.
With a jet ski, aside from the great fun the speed on the water can offer, comes danger. Everything happens and passes you by so quickly that it can be challenging to process all the potential risks and responsibilities you have operating on the water, such as: Avoiding Fishing nets/gear; driftwood; swimmers; bathers; looking out for maritime markers; divers below the surface; and other craft.
Jet skis and swimmers thrive off the same environment, both venturing out when the sea is flattest and the sun hottest. This is our biggest conflict and primary concern. We receive lots of calls concerned about jet skiers movement and behaviour from the jet ski launch ramp, located in Goring off Alinora Avenue.
We will always attend the location if a member of public is concerned, most of the time the jet skiers are operating safely and responsibly and mainly its the loud alien noise from the machines creating the concern alone.
As with most of our beach sections and waters off Worthing, it must be shared and there is space for all in a well thought out structure.
We ask jet skiers to read and follow instructions on the information boards at the launch ramp before launching and once in the water at a maximum of 8 knots, move south along the transit route denoted by yellow special marker buoys to outside the swim zone where the ocean is yours to enjoy to the maximum! Most of our issues come from skiers practising manoeuvres in the shallows of the transit route, please refrain from this guys.
Swimmers and bathers too, please keep out of the jet ski transit zone, it's there to separate users and keep everyone safe.
You will often see either me or my colleagues at this location on an ATV, powerboat or our own jet ski ensuring bylaws are followed, information given and everyone stays safe. Like I mentioned earlier, there's room and a right for all users to enjoy the facilities available.
If you area jet skier and are approached by us on our Beach inspectors jet ski, please stop to communicate. Other than enforce necessary waterborne byelaws, and looking after our jet ski community, we could be simply informing you of handy information such as issues to look out for local to you, i.e divers down, driftwood or deep water swimmers.
Enjoy and see you on the water!
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The nightmare that is fly tipping and litter dropping is such a lazy and detrimental practice. Let me reassure you, here at the Beach office it frustrates us just as much as you guys, if not more as it adds workload to our already busy day and reduces our time in delivering you our foreshore and safety element on land and sea.
Littering is by far the biggest factor when it comes to waste on our beaches and open spaces. After a hot weekend with conditions perfect, I cringe at how much rubbish will be laying at locations such as Goring Greensward or our high amenity beach areas. Many food wrappers, cans, alcohol bottles and disposable barbecues are left in neat circles where groups once gathered then up and left unaware of their moral duties. I would like to say it is only a minority, but this seems far from fact and not only one age group.
Our cleansing and waste team from Adur & Worthing council work tirelessly to keep up with the demand on the many metal black bins located along the Prom and fringes of the Greensward, ensuring there is room for you to dispose. Ultimately though if the nearest bin is full, please take you rubbish home to dispose of, do not leave rubbish loose or stacked up next to the bin as this is ultimately fly-tipping and overnight the problem becomes a lot worse by foxes, Corvids (crows, ravens, rooks, jackdaws, jays, magpies, etc) and seagulls ripping the bags open to carry on the feast!
The sad fact is that when rubbish is left loose on these locations, a percentage does enter our water through tide and wind; adding to the plastic pollution that is so rife worldwide.
If you witness groups or individuals leaving litter, please call the Beach office of flag down a patrol and we will intercept, advise and issue a fixed penalty notice if necessary. Sometimes it just takes a little explaining and informing and then the penny drops!
Recent stints of fly tipping have tragically been finding their way into our local fisherman's boats, only to be found at 4am in the morning when they need to launch and bring in their nets with the days freshest catch that's being waited upon by many a Worthing restaurant; causing delay and loss of profit.
If you suspect fly tipping in our fisherman's boats or locker sites, please send photos to the Beach office where we can along with the Police prosecute and nip this worrying trend in the bud.
This may all sound rather negative but its worth addressing as not just the Beach office team but a huge amount of council resource is dedicated to creating and ensuring a cleaner environment for everyone and every mammal, insect, crustacean and vertebrate to thrive and prosper within.
On a much brighter note, the ranks of our voluntary community and workplace beach litter picking groups are swelling by the week! A big thank you to Bohunt school in Broadwater where 60 pupils and teachers came down to litter pick our beaches from the Lido to Splashpoint in what was a massive success.
Anyone at any time can come to us and loan a litter picker and bags to help us in our Summer offensive against detritus.
If you are a school or local business and feel you could help in the same way Bohunt school and other bodies have done, please contact me or one of my colleges at the Beach office and we will book you in the diary and ensure all have gloves, bags, pickers and are accommodated accordingly.
I will happily mention you in my blogs in a list of thank you and add pictures where I can. All you need to bring is sun cream, suitable footwear and a sense of humour :)
Give me a call!
Photo: Fly tipping at Fisherman's boat locker on Worthing seafront
Photo: Beach office litter picking and cleaning of the Prom in Worthing
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Bathers will be even safer than usual this summer season as Worthing Beach office launches its new rescue element 'Kayak rescue and incident response'.
We pride ourselves here at the Beach office in constantly searching for ways to accommodate users of our coastline and creating a robust personal beach service, and we're confident we have all angles covered with this new pilot scheme for 2018.
It came to our attention that in and amongst our high amenity zones from Splashpoint to the Lido, our presence is required on a more constant basis during peak times.
Although we have a vast, capable array of rescue craft such as power boats and jet ski, it stood out that we couldn't react so efficiently in very shallow water, under the Pier or in densely packed areas. Whilst looking at how other beach services effectively patrolled their shallows, kayaks came out the most effective for many reasons:
- Overt, visual and approachable to the public
- Constant, close presence in high amenity areas
- Very effective in shallow water
- Zero carbon footprint
- Less imposing when in a static location
- Quick and effective in administering first-aid or combating swimming difficulties
Three members of the Beach office team, including myself, have been put through our paces this last week on effective rescue techniques via kayak from an outside trainer.
After much sea swimming, paddling for England and burning shoulders all of us gained the ticks in the boxes we needed to pass and go out there and deliver the service!
A lot was learnt and drills mastered to a slick level of competency such as towing, advanced aquatic first aid, swimmer assistance and kit maintenance.
I'm sure you will notice our visual presence on our red and yellow rescue kayak on your next trip to the beach and hopefully you'll welcome the move we've made to assist you further should you need us.
I feel this is a fresh approach to sea safety for Worthing and delivers a great energy to the team and all provided by YOUR council services.
Look forward to seeing us actively patrolling these areas in tandem with our land based patrols.
- if you need or see someone requiring our assistance at sea, please call the Coastguard on 999 where we will be delegated to come to your assistance
- if its land based you require please call the Beach office direct on 01903 238977
See you on the water.
Photo: One of our kayaks and the kit it carries
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Well, they are one of a few different public rescue items at your disposal that we have deployed at strategic points along our Coastline.
The 'Red tubes' I describe are housing for a Throw-bag. Inside is a fabric Throw-bag, deployable by one person to someone in difficulty in the water.
We have these statically and strategically located all the way from Shoreham Beach in the east, with its deep shelving depths; through Lancing with its mass of golden sand; all the way to Ferring at the Greensward. Our twice daily overt reconnaissance patrols routinely check the Throw-bag tubes and bag for presence and serviceability, inside and out.
Unfortunately, with all items that are accessible to the public, tampering and vandalism can occur; hence our patrols checking them every time they pass.
The greatest miss use of these effective public rescue items is the deploying of used Dog waste bags inside them! This does occur and is clearly not what their for, with their black screw top lids and labelling. It's a somewhat unpleasant shock for us to find a dog waste bag cooking up inside one!
If anyone witnesses the tampering or miss-use of these essential items, please call us or flag down one of our operatives.
If you see someone struggling in the water and you feel you can assist with a throw-bag:
- Call the beach office and inform us of the situation: 01903 238977
- Approach the Throw-bag tube
- Unscrew the black lid
- Pull out the fabric Throw-bag
- Read the 10 second instructions to refresh or educate you
- Undo the Velcro and plastic clip around the neck
- Hold the black plastic coated loop inside
- Pull out a meter of floating line
- Hold both the plastic loop and the bag in either hand
- Throw underarm towards the emergency
- Hold the casualty in situ or gently pull them towards the shore
- Await assistance
Note: Do not wrap the floating line around your wrist, don't become another casualty by being pulled into the water!
Mastering to throw a Throw-bag effectively, I feel is a great skill to have living by a coastline. It gives you the chance to react early before our rescue elements can be on scene. When we have school visits at the Beach office, I always educate on the use of a Throw-bags; prizes for the furthest most accurate throw!
If your passing and would like to be shown or talk through aspects of using a Throw-bag effectively, please come in and me or one of my colleagues will happily educate you theoretically and practically on the subject.
Photo: Some of our boats and vehicles outside the Beach Office on Worthing seafront
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When the sun is hot and high in the Worthing sky, and the sea is as flat as glass and you can see every ripple, it's natural to be drawn to it and feel the need to explore this endless space.
Entering onto this unfamiliar surface is fascinating - being able to see the sand, flint and kelp habitat beneath, with mackerel, garfish and mullet shoaling below you. It's only possible on those perfect days when a few natural factors come together.
Paddle boarding and kayaking are proving the most popular way to achieve this magical experience, in many cases along with canine companions!
Although recently, watching our coastline through my binoculars, I've noticed a common, worrying pattern occurring with a lack of 'self preservation' prevailing.
Maybe they are seen as un-fashionable, bulky or too expensive, or just unintentionally missed off the list, but a buoyancy-aid or lifejacket will save your life and your pets should the worst happen!
I'm witnessing far too many venturing out without one; it's not a reflection on your water skills; it's just essential survival kit to make sure you can return and enjoy the sport again and again. Situations can occur on paddleboards and kayaks that are out of your control and which will leave you glad you had one. These are some of those situations:
- An offshore wind can develop and push you further out, or off the craft altogether
- Collisions or wake from other vessels could unintentionally put you in the water and away from your craft
- Leg injury especially on paddle boards from falling into the water on the shallow seabed could restrict you getting back up on your board
- Your dog could enter the water and run out of energy due to the depth or cold water
- The list goes on ...
I appreciate paddle boards have a leash, but the water is cold all year round and injuries, hypothermia and fatigue can occur quickly.
Many styles for man and dog are available and cost can fluctuate, but lifesaving kit shouldn't be brought on a 'cheap is best' basis.
Our dog Penny loves hers and she's modelling it in the photo for you!
For fishing kayakers, buoyancy aids are available with this in mind and have extra pockets and room for traces, weights and knife etc. Be sure to check them out.
Once you have the kit you'll have the piece of mind too that if the worst should happen, you're both covered as best you can be before one of our safety vessels from the Beach office team can assist you.
It's not worth the risk or loss guys. Now get back out there and paddle further and fish harder :)
Photo: Our kayaks and paddle boards on the beach
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It's been all hands on deck this week as we've had some new faces in the Beach Office. Yes, our seasonal staff have commenced their initial mini basic training programme!
The new cohort have been super spoilt so far - no speed marches or time on the firing range though; just lots of foot patrols around the seafront and the launching of throwlines as we hone their skills to a level of competency we are happy with before they begin providing Worthing and the surrounding areas with a superb Council-funded Foreshore and rescue service.
Over the years techniques and standard operating procedures (SOP's) change or update and its essential we keep up to date with the changes and deliver appropriately.
Myself and my colleagues are all competent Royal Yachting Association instructors and have been delivering a multitude of lessons to them. These include:
- The expectations of a seasonal boat operator (SBO)
- VHF radio voice procedure
- All-terrain vehicle (ATV) theory and practical training
- Water safety patrols
- Byelaw knowledge and enforcement procedure
- The list goes on ...
At the Beach office all our staff pride themselves on their knowledge and professionalism and as a result we have some well-rehearsed 'core values' for all staff and new recruits to abide by. These are Etiquette, Professionalism, Robustness and Attention to Detail.
All of our seasonal staff for the 2018 summer season have worked for us in past years at some point, therefore their knowledge is already at a good level - although constant on-going training will be delivered throughout their time with us.
Their start day on the past Bank Holiday Monday somewhat threw them in at the deep end, with our local beaches being the busiest I've ever witnessed them as the wind, tide and heat levels failed to disappoint.
On days like these this is where everyone benefits from the frontline service we provide from the Beach Office.
With our ranks bolstered by our seasonal staff, our mobile and waterborne, overt reconnaissance patrols can cover more ground more often and respond quicker as a result.
Becoming a Seasonal Beach Officer at the Beach Office is an excellent opportunity for the right candidate.
The skills you will learn and developmental exercises you will participate in will enhance your CV and act as an ideal platform to enter into either the maritime, safety or public sector.
If you feel this could be you and you would relish the opportunity, be sure to apply in February 2019 via the Adur & Worthing Council website.
And remember, call us on 01903 238977 or flag us down if you require:
- First aid treatment
- Water safety response
- Land based shoreline response
- Environmental concerns
- Byelaw enforcement
Be it land or sea we'll have it covered.
Photo: One of our safety boats and some of our safety equipment
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- Heene Road & Splashpoint and;
- From Worthing sailing club to Alinora boat ramp all the way down to the low tide mark
- Tiring them out - the resistance from the water will make them sleep like a log once the trip is over;
- A trip to the beach is so stimulating to the canine mind, the smell and textures will be so different to that of grassland;
- On a hot day, the cooling water means dogs cool off the pads of their feet.
As with any typically English coastal town, Worthing has always had a fascination and a practical use for flags.
Our fishing vessels use them for marking their nets and pots, our passing pleasure and commercial craft, and rowing clubs occasionally use an array of colourful signal flags to communicate between themselves. And lastly our array of awards fly high and proud in our parks and seafront.
As a town with its beginning originating from the sea, it’s only right we keep the colours flying.
Since 25 March 2008, the Government decided to give UK Government departments the freedom to fly the Union Flag on their buildings whenever they choose to. Have you noticed that there's always a Union Jack flying from the Town hall near our war memorial?
It's our job as Foreshore inspectors to place and maintain the flying of the flags along the seafront. It’s always great to see them up; it really is a sign of the start of summer for us!
We aim to create a fresh and diverse theme every year for our 1930s art deco Pier. 2017 saw signal flags spelling out 'Worthing' and for 2018 we'll be be flying county flags from around the UK.
Every year all of the flags we fly have been generously donated to the town by Worthing residents and businesses. Your generosity doesn't go unnoticed - a big thank you to you all.
All of those who donate to our flag appeal will be mentioned in the Worthing Journal's roll of honour.
This year we in Worthing are flying other county flags with pride. I would personally like to see a flag of Wessex, with the Wyvern on the red background flown on the flagpole at Splashpoint. Our town of Worthing was once a small English Saxon fishing village in the kingdom of Sussex, later to be annexed into the mighty Wessex, so I feel it’s only fitting to fly a flag that is hugely engrained in our local history in what I see as one of our prime locations.
If you would like to donate towards the £124.24 needed or purchase the Wessex flag outright so we can fly it high and proud in the sunshine, please contact the below
Paul Holden: firstname.lastname@example.org
Beach Office: Beach.email@example.com / 01903 238977
Photo: The Wessex Flag Rob Dove, Foreshore Inspector, would love to see outside Worthing's Splashpoint
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I'm the first to appreciate a Spring clear-out ... especially if its around 3.5 tonnes! That was the weight of unwanted netting, pots, timber and general fishing waste we took off the hands of our Worthing fishermen on Saturday.
You may have noticed how the fishing zones look a little more regimented in recent days!
Here at the Beach office us Foreshore inspectors agreed a fresh outlook for accommodating our fishermen was needed. We were concerned of the amount of unwanted fishing gear accumulating at the' boat zones' and the environmental and human hazard issues this may cause, along with the serviceability of boats on the beach.
I am the first to see the need in helping our local fishermen - they play an important role in preserving Worthing's maritime heritage with their traditional 'gill net' fishing and fibreglass boats based on older wooden clinker designs of years gone by.
Photo: One of the fishing boats on Worthing Beach
Some local historical names in Worthing's fishing heritage still fish here off of our town such as the Brownriggs, Phillips, Bashfords, Bookers and Marchants to name a few.
I was tasked to head up fisheries for the foreseeable, this being a huge interest of mine I was more than happy to. We have built further good relations with our fishermen and Worthing fishermen's society, who accommodate our beach based fishermen, by attending their AGM in March.
One major area of feedback from this meeting was the need to dispose of items, to see the 'wood for the trees' so to speak. The date was then set and we actioned what was a hugely successful day once all the heavy lifting was over!
Since the clean-up I have started conducting a survey of all locker sites and craft condition from east to west, informing our fishermen of work required along the way and ensuring it's complete.
The co-operation from our fishermen has been humbling; all are focused on improving the aesthetic look of their locker sites and becoming more productive as a result, knowing that we at the Beach Office are here to help them in many ways should they require it.
As the era of 'locally sourced' food is upon us, please find the time to make a passing trip to any of our fishermen actively selling along our coastline; keep an eye out for selling boards and flags. These guys need our support, once we can secure this for them, everyone is helping preserve a local way of life and securing our English fishing heritage here in Worthing for years to come.
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Three heavy plant machines graced our beach earlier this week. These jumbo 'Tonka' toys made easy work of eating into and lowering our beach to expose our wooden launch ramp.
Tonnes of stones/sand was taken away, tipped and graded onto other sections of our local beach and we were one step closer to providing and mobilising our water safety services for 2018.
This event really is a milestone in our calendar and brings our imminent, busy high season ever closer.
Our safety boats will be pushed out and given some mild sunlight on top of the launch ramp over the coming days and then looked over with a fine tooth comb by the Foreshore Inspectors.
We will be checking that all the essential on-board kit and rescue equipment is where it should be and ensuring vessel serviceability, before all craft are inspected further by the MCA (Maritime & Coastguard agency).
We are well underway recruiting our seasonal staff for the oncoming busy periods. As a team we will be working hard to recruit the best applicants that have applied knowing the job can throw all sorts of situations their way; we need the most confident and robust staff.
A full ongoing in-house training package has been created by us to make this year's seasonal staff the most pro-active, efficient and confident to date in dealing with bye-law enforcement, water safety and land response. We will be actively teaching them regular refreshers in boat handling skills, first aid, VHF radio procedure, people skills and navigational markers ... just to mention a few!
Drawing on our previous competencies, we have also added a mix of bonus diverse lessons to teach our seasonal staff extra skills. One such lesson being 'Ground sign' - a skill I was well drilled in during my Regiment days - that will help our staff locate objects, look for ground disturbance and help in their awareness of the natural environment.
A big push will be made to combat plastics on our coastline, under the pier especially as well as working alongside the councils cleansing teams as and when we can sacrifice the seasonal manpower.
Don't forget that the system to 'sign out' a litter-picker and bags is now available here at the Beach office. We have a sign on the Prom advertising the fact. Please come down with friends or family and help us slow the pace of plastics washing up on our local beaches!
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Our Spring offensive on the advancing plastic enemy began this week, Monday 2nd April 2018 at 15:25 was zero hour!
Over the spell of a month we've noticed a considerable build-up of plastic cordage, domestic fishing line and commercial netting accumulate under our Pier. We have been making a big push on plastics here at the Beach office since the world has been informed and considerably educated on its ever-growing presence and adverse effects.
In just 30 minutes me and my colleague Tommy (see photo below) had accumulated a wheelie bin's worth of material from just the first two sections.
We will be pro-actively attacking the structural underside of the Pier for plastics when feasible, believing it will improve the look and reduce the hazard to Worthingites and our local marine life alike.
Overall, the beaches in our 10.5 mile stretch that we manage are a very clean, safe standard. Unfortunately we have no control over the material that washes ashore and cause us to react accordingly.
The old saying of “leave it as you found it” is still ever so applicable if you are congregating on the beach or surrounding areas and I do believe it's becoming socially unacceptable to discard litter these days, long may it continue!
Anglers need to be aware too. Being a keen angler myself, I want us to be all over this issue. If you snag your trace or line under the pier please collect it - if it's close to the seabed, safe to do so and you can access it easily by standing firm - if not, please come back to cut away and dispose of it when conditions dictate.
When we employ our seasonal beach operatives, observing for and disposing of plastic waste on our coastline will be a regular activity. I will personally be bringing my heavy duty fishing weighing scales into work and will make sure every bulk brought back to base will be weighed and I will disclose the final weight of plastic removed over the summer on the 30th September, the very last day of the season.
I have a feeling it will be a fascinating but concerning result.
Our beach cleans still run regularly so be sure to get involved, keep an eye out on the Adur & Worthing Facebook page for the next one.
I will be making it possible for everyone who wants to to be able to come into the Beach office, sign out a litter picker, grab a bag and off you go! I hope this will prove popular.
Spread the word!
Photo: Build-up of plastic cordage, domestic fishing line and commercial netting hanging under our Pier
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Not so quiet on the western or eastern front this week as we prepare for Easter and the influx of visitors to our coastline.
Whilst we finish the final kit checks and serviceability of our boats and vehicles before the start of the season, the job really can call for us at zero seconds notice and it's down tools to react!
A member of public came into the office to report that a young lady had passed out and fallen over onto the Prom and that there was lots of blood.
This was all the 'hand over' I and my colleague needed to determine what we may be dealing with.
My previous experience as part of the Medical Emergency Response Team (MERT) was once again brought to the surface. Our First Aid kits on the vehicles or at base contain the same response kit including large and small field dressings, plasters, sterile wipes and face shields and defibrillators to name just a few items in our arsenal.
The lady hurt had blacked out and landed with force on her face, a large deep wound was on her chin and deep grazing on her temple and cheek.
An Ambulance was called and after an initial assessment with her being conscious but in shock I used a large field dressing to lay her face upon and keep her in a recovery position for a couple of minutes before sitting her on a chair whilst carrying out a secondary assessment for further injuries.
We always ask lots of questions to assess the patient's conscious state such as name, medical history and any other necessary information we may find useful at the time.
Once the bleeding had clotted from the deep wound on her chin, I began cleaning up the blood on her face to look for any more injuries, constantly keeping an eye out for deterioration in her wellbeing.
An element I recently added to our 1st aid kits was to include a 'NATMIST' card, A5 in size and laminated to include:
N - Name
A - Age
T - Time of incident
M - Mechanism of injury
I - Injuries sustained
S - Signs & symptoms
T - Treatment given
These worked extremely well out in Afghanistan and enabled us on the ground to hand over instant facts about the patient to medics upon extraction of the casualty, ultimately saving precious time.
After applying a covered ice pack to the large swelling on her left cheek and getting some hydration into the patient, the ambulance arrived 15 minutes later and the hand over was completed, NATMIST card included!
This is just one of many First Aid incidents we attend to as Foreshore inspectors. All of us are qualified and have a vast combined experience to deliver effective treatment should you require it anywhere along our coastline.
Photo: One of our ATVs with some of our First Aid kit
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Spring is definitely coming and you can almost sense the sea warming up from its current 6.6 degrees when the gentle sunlight does show through!
Whilst on one of my daily safety patrols around the Pier - checking the rescue equipment, defibrillator, enforcing bye-laws and checking the structure as a whole - I couldn't help but notice our resident wildlife move with a more energetic pace.
The Rock doves (Columba Livia) visible beneath the decking were substantially more vocal, gathering organic debris to start making their new nests for their chicks. Did you know that 'squabs' is the official Rock dove chick terminology?!
Further down the structure, whilst checking the serviceability of the throw buoys located in their red housing and on past the central partition with the funky acrylic casting its warming colours (see photo below), I eventually come to my favourite part of our Pier; the landing stage. I think its the feeling of having a low profile to the water and its many practical uses that I like the most.
Back in the day, fast small boats used to use the speedboat jetty that annexed onto the east side of the landing stage, which has now long gone. Famous steamer vessels were regulars too such as the Worthing Belle and not so long ago the Waverley used to moor alongside the tropical Greenheart timber that makes up its weather tight, solid construction; much like the chaps who built the structure with their manual fabricating and hand tools.
With those glory days a distant memory and to help preserve the historic site for conservation reasons, mooring has ceased. From an angling point of view, its a terrific location off the main walkway away from the crowds, and low enough to the water to land that prize winning Plaice without fear of it falling off!
Whilst checking the landing stages cast iron floor plates for any shift or lifting that can occur during a large meterage of tide, I noticed a crowd gathering around me. This was no ordinary crowd but an inquisitive flock of Turnstones (Arenaria interpres) - see photo below.
These bold, super friendly birds with their mottled dark winter plumage were darting around my feet snapping at the odd Sandhopper or Kelp flies that were disturbed by my movement. Only once their bellies were full did they return to their static position on the metal floor, where a warm beam of sunlight shone. Another humbling example of how nature sometimes adapts and thrives on the impact of man made structures and how our Pier is a unique habitat in itself, both above and below the waterline.
Once I'm finished on a visual check of the pier looking underneath from the landing stage, I'm back up the steps to the decking and heading back down the other side carrying out my checks as I go.
Assessing the waterline, it's clear to see that the recent prevailing easterly winds do seem to have changed the dynamics of our sea bed somewhat.
To the west of the Pier the depositing of sediment has hidden the majority of flints and chalk below to give us a vast, usable area of sand around the sections of beach from the Beach office to Heene road. Hopefully it will last for the Easter weekend so get out and enjoy it whist you can!
PS to everyone concerned, I am still awaiting the mammal autopsy results and will let you know as soon as I have them. I predict this to be very soon. Thank you for showing an enormous interest and concern in the issue.
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16th March 2018: Two Dolphins, one porpoise and a beach clean: it's been a busy week down at the beach office!
This week has been an intriguing but slightly concerning week for our off shore wildlife.
In one week we have had three unfortunate beachings of two common short beaked Dolphins (Delphinus delphis) and one Harbour porpoise (Phocoena phocoena).
Another two Dolphins were also washed ashore dead in Brighton.
All three incidents in Worthing were reported to us by our ever watchful public and we are yet again very grateful for their swift action.
One solitary Dolphin washed ashore on Monday 5th of March on the section of beach near Western Road, Lancing.
The second beaching of one Dolphin and Porpoise occurred on Saturday 10th and Monday 12th. Both came ashore near Grand Avenue, Worthing.
Bizarrely enough all three showed no signs of injury or malnutrition and the weather has not been too rough to hinder their hunting for food amongst the many small Channel Whiting and cephalopods in our waters; it can only lead to one thing. My personal feeling is pollution of some description, either inhalation of oils or solvents in the water or ingestion of foreign objects, i.e plastic.
I have contacted both Littlehampton and Brighton Harbour Board and we are in agreement to contact each others service should more beachings arise and a pattern emerge.
All three incidents were rapidly dealt with by us here at the Beach Office and the councils' own hazardous waste team, who took the deceased mammals from us to their depot for collection by operatives from the natural history museum; they will then carry out an autopsy to determine the cause of death.
I am already making a pest of myself trying to gather the results and relevant information from the autopsy. As soon as I have all the information to hand I will update you all during another blog.
If the results come back as foreign object damage, this will only bolster our efforts here at the Beach Office to continue to highlight the issue of commercial and public litter on our coastlines and further help develop our community beach cleans.
On this note, on Sunday it was refreshing to see so many people involved on Worthing beach for the 'Beach Spring Clean'.
A big thank you to everyone who took part and for your true British grit when the rain threatened to dampen your morale! Good effort!
If you happen to see anything untoward on our coastline or would like to discuss the recent event, please call me or one of the team here at the Beach Office and we would happily help explain where we can.
Photo: People involved on Worthing beach for the 'Beach spring clean' in the rain and one of our ATVs
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Seconds feel like week's when you realise that you can't see your child. Most of the time you'll turn around and spot them playing hide-and-seek behind you but, occasionally they may venture a little further away.
Following an incident recently I want to use today's blog to highlight the format we follow and service we provide when a lost child or missing person situation arises.
Just last week a mother of two 3-4 year old children flagged me down as I was passing the Pier heading east on one of our routine reconnaissance patrols. Panic was setting in as the seconds went by and she could not find her son.
Staying calm I was able to receive a full description of the young boy and last seen location.
Working fast I was able to systematically sweep the area and luckily located the child on his scooter (kids disappear quickly on scooters don't they!) near the road of Splash Point. He was safely re-united with his much relived parents in no time.
Along with first-aid incidents, a missing person - or MISPER as we log it down as back at base - are common scenarios on our coastline in Worthing.
The missing person can vary in all age ranges but most commonly under 10 years or over 60 years old.
A large percentage of MISPER cases are called into us via the Police or Coastguard who we frequently work on behalf of.
Once the latest information on the missing person has been recorded, our mechanised or waterborne (in summer) elements - are mobilized.
Did you know that even from one of our safety boats the crew can scan the waterline and beach up to the top of the shingle with great effectiveness?
Photo: Our safety boats and ATVs out on the beach next to the Beach Office
In most cases though, a mobile ATV patrol using emergency blue lights will be sent to get a positive ID on the MISPER.
This is another worthy reason for us to have the 'blue light' element on our vehicles as we are then at this time working on behalf of the Police, Coastguard or other emergency service and may require to work at higher patrol speeds than normal.
As a safety measure, at the Beach office (photo right) we supply wrist bands for Children to wear along the seafront - even in the water! - which provide contact details of the parent/minder if they should become lost in busy periods. Be sure to come in and grab one!
If you do find yourself in a similar situation on our beaches or Prom where you have lost a child or vulnerable member of your family or friends, be sure to contact us first at the Beach office; or flag down one of our patrols where we will be able to react straight away.
Remember, it's our job to keep you safe.
Worthing Beach office - 01903 238977
Make sure to save this number in your mobile!
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Some of you, like me may be laughing a little at the elaborate TV reporting of 5 days seasonal weather. I will agree that in recent times our local winter climate tends to comprise of mild south westerly fronts and a sprinkling of frosts, but I do feel the media are underestimating our British 'Dunkirk spirit'!
There have been some winter spells in Worthing's past that are definitely worth remembering ...
January 21st 1947
In the aftermath of WW2 an anti-cyclone that sat over Scandinavia brought strong easterly winds and heavy snow to the town. That February, the overnight temperature in Worthing only climbed above 0 degrees twice! The event lasted until mid-March.
The local weather was exceptionally cold from December to March without any signs of relenting. Such was the severity that the sea off Goring froze enough for chancers to dare walk on it - were you one of them?
At the Beach office we have access to the latest weather predictions and sea temperatures. We display our findings for the day along with a further five day forecast and high tide times in the window of our office - be sure to take a look when walking past.
This recent cold weather is due to a North pole phenomenon called 'sudden stratospheric warming'. The Polar vortex is ultimately disrupted, resulting in bitterly cold air rushing along from Siberia.
Rest assured though, our mobile units are still out on daily reconnaissance patrols, heading east & west on the shingle. The combination of Spring tides, strong easterly winds and a retreating tide twice a day are changing our coastline significantly; where there once was sand is now exposed to chalk and flint beds and vice-versa.
This is a time when unexpected items can expose themselves in the sediment, like the suspected UXO we had on Worthing beach earlier this month. To that end, me and my colleagues are well disciplined not to become complacent in our thoroughness, regardless of the weather conditions.
My top tips for sub-zero beaches:
- Wear a hat - 45% of your body heat is lost through the head
- Don't forget your gloves
- A windproof, GORTEX coat to eliminate wind chill
- A snood or scarf for your neck and chin, don't wear this over your mouth though, as the condensation dampens and chills your lower face!
- Dogs too, a torso coat is advised and ensure a thorough drying with a towel greats them once back in the car or home
- Hydration of some sort for you and your dog, it feels alien to drink water when your cold but believe me your body won't be able to keep you warm without it, its essential
- A hot drink waiting in the car for the journey home!
Wrap up and head on down to either the Prom, Pier or low-tide mark this week and enjoy the silent beauty of our coastline. I'll be out there whenever I can to enjoy every flake!
Photo: Worthing Pier captured in bitterly cold conditions
OVER ...OUT ...
Like clockwork with military precision shortly after 4:30pm, when Worthing's Art Deco Pier turns on its warming colours, one of Worthing's many fauna tells us the day is drawing to a close.
Starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) are the performers, our Pier being their home to roost until dawn.
Whilst stunning to look at, this tactical, evasive manoeuvre is employed by them to combat the threat of aerial attack! Predators such as Peregrine falcons - which we do occasionally see darting low along our shingle coastline - find it hard to target one bird in the middle of a hypnotising flock of hundreds or thousands.
It's quite a scene to witness when the flock is being targeted by Sparrow Hawks or one lone Peregrine falcon. To me, the Starlings instantly take on the resemblance of a squadron of World War II B52 bomber aircraft being mauled by German fighters!
Unfortunately the Starling population in the UK has fallen by more than 80 per cent in recent years, meaning they are now on the critical list of UK birds most at risk.
The decline is believed to be due to the loss of permanent pasture, increased use of farm chemicals and a shortage of food and nesting sites in many parts of the UK.
Fortunately for us, here in Worthing we are able to offer them a diverse habitat in which to find their food at least. From our fantastic town centre parks with their native and diverse planting schemes, to our large grassed areas in our open spaces there are great foraging opportunities for wildlife - and the proof is in the steady Starling population we now have residing in our area.
Once the swaying and darting has sufficed, in unison a quick bold dash is made to the chosen spot among the iron works, below the decking. One fascinating fact is their intelligence, they gather to keep warm at night and to also exchange information, such as good feeding areas.
It's definitely worth making time to watch this mini spectacle as the light starts to fade. In my opinion it's the best dancing around this time of year and beats Dancing on ice and the likes any day!
Yes I'll agree our flock size isn't quite on par with the likes of Brighton's famous displays around Palace Pier but I still feel it's quite special and humbling to see a declining specie choosing to make Worthing Pier its home for the night.
Photo: A murmuration of starlings - an amazing sight
Photo: Lights on Worthing Pier coming on at dusk
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A certain event that hit our coastline this week took me back to 2012, that being the last time I had anything to do with ordinance, suspect or confirmed ...
The call came in from Solent Coastguard at mid-day on Monday the 12th of February.
A resident of Grand Avenue had phoned in to express their concern over a suspect metal object protruding from the end of the shingle shelf, near the Canadian war memorial.
I was tasked to attend, carry out a reconnaissance report and get eyes on the developing situation.
It was 50-50, I couldn't quite confirm whether the historic item was unexploded ordinance (UXO) or not. It looked very Naval, depth charge in size and shape with a robust build and lifting eye; not the characteristics of a standard oil drum.
Historically, Worthing's coastline was heavily defended during WW2 opposing what sometimes seemed an imminent German invasion. Depth charges were fired in huge quantities by the Allies in the Atlantic and English Channel, hunting the elusive but deadly U-boat Wolfpacks.
Therefore, lots of historic ordinance has been discovered over the years all along the south coast, from the aftermath of both world wars. A chilling reminder of darker days not so long ago.
Generally speaking though, any historic ordinance that is found in a coastline environment is normally redundant due to years of exposure to moisture; but should always be treated as if were fresh out the factory! Remember, even a hand grenade can still kill an unprotected man from 20 meters away!
A 100 metre cordon was enforced by myself and the Coastguard to allow bomb disposal to confirm the suspect item, police and the fire brigade were now also on the scene.
After some time digging, scrapping and scratching of berets, on returning the following day, the item was deemed to be a historic, robustly built liquid container and was removed and disposed of appropriately by Adur & Worthing Councils.
As a collective, the Beach office staff have lots of combined experience in dealing with UXOs from our previous careers, therefore we are always confident and capable in keeping you safe anywhere on YOUR coastline, even if history should come knocking!
Photos: Identifying the object and digging it up ...
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Ask me or any of the Foreshore service team what would be one of the worst situations that could arise on our coastline and 'oil spill' would come out on top.
A recent event has made me feel the need to inform you with a little look into our procedure and ultimately re-assure you of our capability should the worst ever happen ...
On Monday 22nd of January 2018, one lonesome 20ltr plastic fuel container washed up on the section of beach near Waterwise Gardens in Goring.
A dog walker telephoned in to us direct to report the finding. We are always extremely grateful when the public communicate with us. This further shows us how much the residents of Worthing are conscientious and caring about their coastline and it can sometimes make our reaction time to dealing with the incident a lot quicker.
My fellow Foreshore inspector Mat asked the caller to describe the situation to gauge volume of oil or any other useful, early information. He attended the scene and as it was safe to do so, brought the container back to the beach office. If the situation was larger in volume and outside the capabilities of us at a local level, then communication would have been made to base via our private VHF channel and Solent coastguard would have been informed along with the Maritime & Coastguard Agency (MCA).
The area would then be cordoned off by us and further reconnaissance efforts and specialized contractors on standby would then be mobilized.
Once Mat returned to base, our own Adur & Worthing hazardous waste disposal team was directed to attend and collect. The substance inside seemed to have the consistency of a heavy grade motor fuel, not quite bunker fuel which a large tanker uses to power its engines, but not far off.
From the moment the fuel container was reported, our reconnaissance patrols have been on high alert for any other containers or loose oil beaching.
Thankfully this seemed to be a careless one off, but well worth the caution.
For public reassurance, three of our four Foreshore inspectors at the beach office are trained by the Maritime coastguard agency in reacting and dealing with a shore based oil spill of any substance or quantity. I was fortunate enough to be on the course a few weeks ago in Ipswich, so the team is always on standby with a contingency plan should the worst happen!
If you are one of many whom are getting actively involved with local beach cleans in our area, as mentioned by Paul Willis in an earlier post, then keep an eye out for anything similar.
Always relay any findings or sightings to your section leader immediately, should you discover a potential hazardous spill and the correct contingency plan will be activated.
Help us help your coastline, enjoy!
OVER ... OUT ...
Like most of you last night, with conditions perfect, I took the time to pop into the garden to gaze at the powerful sight of the super moon.
The light cast was piercing and it seemed possible to notice every small detail even with just the mark 1 eyeball. Being 30% brighter and 14% bigger than usual it must have been stunning if seen through a telescope.
The Blood moon was as predicted causing some big tides to swell up on our coastline to a height of 6.5 meters. But with high pressure and the wind eventually heading North-westerly these created no issues with breaching.
The last time this special event cast its mood on us here in Worthing was in 1866, just imagine Worthing as a small fishing village back then, cobbled terraced streets and lanterns.
The extra working light would have come in handy for Worthing's fishermen of old, especially so for those involved in Worthing's slowing but rife smuggling trade.
Talking of a bright Smuggler's moon, a modern day boost from mother nature occurs in the aftermath of a storm - like last week's Storm Georgina - as the window of opportunity is created for some great fishing.
Once the choppy waters cease and normality returns, the sea is full of colour by sediment disturbance;
That cloudy, murky and brown water may not look the best but it definitely fishes the best, just ask any fisherman!
Our current sea temperature here in Worthing is 8.2 degrees, which is perfect for Cod (Gadus morhua) and Channel Whiting (Merlangius merlangus), the prize species to catch in these conditions. The best fishing time is low light hours, and the best bait? Try lug worm, squid or mackerel slithers.
As a keen sea angler myself it's nice to see our Pier producing good sized fish and as a Foreshore inspector I get to ensure the environment in which we fish is managed, respected and sustainable. Here at the beach office, we want all age groups and gender to enjoy the sport and ultimately have fun. We only ask you to bear in mind a few considerations:
Only fish between allocated green and orange coloured dots on the decking
- Respect the location
- Ensure mutual respect for all users of the pier
- No overhead casting unless fishing on the landing stage
- Dispose of all rubbish created appropriately
- Respect and follow the size guidelines for keeping any catch
From a conservation level and one I hope you will agree with, any undersized fish landed and kept will be followed by a swift fixed penalty notice (fine) should we notice or be informed of such practise. Minimum 'take home' sizes for the both are: Cod 35cm and Channel Whiting 27cm
Please report any breaches in the above to the beach office: 01903 238977
Fisherman's Tale: Why not print out pictures of your Pier catches, name and date the back of them, and drop them into the beach office and I may well look into creating a picture board somewhere to show off your angling prowess!
OVER ... OUT ...
Photo: Fishing off Worthing Pier
THIS IS WORTHING BEACH OFFICE ... STANDBY FOR MESSAGE ... OVER ...
Hello everyone! I'm Rob Dove, one of four foreshore inspectors based at the Councils' Beach Office in Worthing seafront (see photo right).
I have been passed the blogging torch by senior foreshore inspector Graham Cherrett to update you on news and events taking place on your coastline.
I'll start by giving you a brief background to introduce myself properly ...
I have worked for Adur & Worthing Councils for four years, previously as an Arborist with Parks & Foreshore and now working solely for the Foreshore department.
Previously, I served for almost five years as an Infantryman on helicopter assault with 1 Squadron, primarily as a machine gunner (GPMG) and team medic within my section.
I have been deployed on two tours of Helmand Afghanistan and two campaigns in Libya; providing force protection for the UK medical emergency response team (MERT), fire support for the Special forces reconnaissance regiment (SRR) and joint mechanised and foot patrols with the United states marine corps (USMC).
Now 10 months in to my role as Foreshore Inspector I can say that my forces background has really prepared me for the diverse and challenging nature of this job!
Preparation is key
Work is well underway at the Beach office as we prepare for this season's challenges and inevitable emergencies.
Training programs have been updated, rescue kit is accounted for and tested, and the ATV's (quad bikes!) are serviced. That's just to mention a few tasks!
We have been especially busy creating our new training board for teaching here at the Beach office. All four of us inspectors are RYA (Royal Yachting Association) instructors and have a range of maritime courses available to the public such as Powerboat levels 1 & 2 and PWC (Jet ski).
Please feel free to contact us for more information about the courses.
If you require advice or need emergency assistance, please don't hesitate to call us on 01903 238977 or pop into the Beach office.
I look forward to updating you again next week with with a situation report (SITREP) and all the latest news from our shoreline soon.
OVER ... OUT ...
Photo: Some of our equipment at the Beach Office - our ATVs and Ribs
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