With warm weather forecast later in the week, Bridgend County Borough Council is reminding people to stay safe while enjoying the coast.
The waters around Sandy Bay and Porthcawl Marina are especially busy during the summer months, and are a popular spot for activities such as boating, canoeing, kayaking, windsurfing, kite surfing, paddle boarding and open-water swimming.
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 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.
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, tidal and traffic conditions – it will not always be safe to set off.
People using personal watercraft such as Jet Skis are encouraged to use the area around Newton Bay.
The Leader, Cllr Huw David, said: “With thousands of people flocking to Porthcawl to enjoy its waters and coastline every year, we want to be sure that they can do so as safely as possible.
“As evidenced by the success of the new Watersports Centre at Rest Bay, Porthcawl draws interest from swimmers and watersport enthusiasts from all around the UK.
“I hope that visitors will heed this advice and take sensible precautions to look after themselves, protect others and ensure that everyone can enjoy the area safely.”