As Bridgend County Borough basks beneath an early summer heatwave and dolphins have been spotted offshore at Porthcawl once more, visitors are being urged to stay safe when enjoying the area’s stunning coastline.
The waters around Sandy Bay and Porthcawl Marina are especially busy during warm weather, and are a popular spot for activities such as boating, canoeing, kayaking, windsurfing, kite surfing, paddle boarding and open-water swimming.
Visitors are reminded that lifeguard patrols are in place at Rest Bay, Coney Beach, Sandy Bay and Trecco Bay between 10am-6pm up until 5 September.
Visitors to Rest Bay can also scan QR codes which provide up to date accurate information about current conditions.
Before entering the water
Whatever the activity, weather forecasts and sea conditions should always be checked in advance to make sure they are suitable. As well as being fit for purpose, all equipment should be clearly marked with a name and contact details, and lifejackets or buoyancy aids should be worn at all times.
Anyone entering the water should familiarise themselves with shallow areas and charted obstructions, and inform someone on shore of their movements. They should remain aware of equipment which could cause harm if touched – for example, boards, fins, lines and sails – and maintain a safe distance from others who may be in the water or on the beach.
High-visibility apparel, brightly coloured tow-buoys and swim caps can aid visibility while in the water, and a waterproof grab-bag containing items such as a radio, mobile phone, flares or a torch is recommended.
Only swim between red and yellow flags on lifeguard-patrolled beaches, and if you get into trouble, lie on your back in the ‘Float To Live’ position, relax, and resist the urge to thrash about.
Anyone who spots a swimmer in trouble should call 999 or 112 in an emergency and ask for the Coastguard. For more details, visit the RNLI website.
Always swim within your limitations, and avoid swimming alone. Tell someone on shore where you are swimming and when you expect to return, and be aware of the cold and the effects it can have on the body once immersed in water.
To avoid collisions and accidents, consider what you will wear to make sure that other users and vessels can see you, or whether a tow-buoy is required.
Things that should always be avoided include diving or jumping from a structure into water of an unknown depth, swimming in strong currents and tides, and swimming after drinking alcohol or consuming food. Never swim near a moving boat or around a vessel which is moored with its engine running, and always avoid swimming across the access channel of the marina.
At the marina
With craft moving in and out of Porthcawl Marina, a five-knot speed limit is in place within the entrance, and all vessels must familiarise themselves and comply with International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea.
Craft using the marina must also comply with relevant regulations, including directions from the harbour master’s office. Before taking to the water, all vessels need to carefully consider prevailing weather and tidal conditions. Local tide times are available on the VisitBridgend website, and people using personal watercraft such as Jet skis are encouraged to use the area around Newton Bay.
Between 1 May to 30 September 2022, dogs are not allowed at Rest Bay, Town Beach, Coney Beach and Trecco Bay. However, they can be exercised all year round at Newton Beach, Pink Bay and Sker Beach. Wherever you go, please remember to always bag dog waste, and to dispose of it responsibly.
Litter and disposable barbeques
Visitors to Porthcawl’s bays and beaches are being urged to always bag and dispose of their litter responsibly, and to think twice before lighting up a disposable barbeque.
On no account should hot coals be buried under sand or emptied out onto rocks as both have caused severe injuries to children in the past.
If the barbeque is still hot at the end of your visit, never leave it on the beach as the grille often becomes separated from its tinfoil tray with the tide, and can cause injuries due to its serrated edge.
Instead, cool the coals with sea water, place the tray and its contents into a suitable bag, and dispose of the barbeque safely at home or in a litter bin.