The council will once again be taking extra measures to discourage swimmers from taking a Christmas Day dip by closing access to the beaches around Brighton Palace Pier.
Seafront officers are urging residents and visitors to stay safe and keep away from the sea this winter.
The warning comes following the tradition of the “Christmas Day Dip” which sees people all over the UK plunge themselves into the sea for an ice-cold swim. People have been doing so in Brighton since it was originated by Brighton Swimming Club in 1860.
However, the council is strongly urging residents to stay away from the sea, warning of the powerful and unforgiving nature of Brighton’s waters.
Chris Ingall, Brighton & Hove City Council’s Seafront Operations Manager, said:
“Everyone enjoys a bracing stroll on the promenade over the festive season but we would urge people to stay on the path or high up on the beach, especially when the sea conditions are rough.”
Chris explained how the beach at Brighton & Hove differs from other south coast beaches and has hidden dangers.
“Unlike many other beaches, where you can gradually enter the water, Brighton & Hove beach has a steep shingle slope making it difficult to leave and enter the water especially during the four hours over the high tide period,” he said.
“The combination of strong winds and steep shingle banks increases the risk of being swept out to sea.”
Parents are urged to keep a close eye on children, holding their hands when on the beach and stopping them from playing ‘chicken’ with the surf washing up the beach.
Dog owners are also being advised to keep their pets on leads and away from the shoreline in rough sea conditions.
“Cold water sea swimming takes skill, stamina and knowledge of the physical dangers and should only be for the very experienced, using suitable wetsuits, in very calm conditions and with friends. Even on a calm day sea currents, unpredictable waves or a sudden change in weather can create life threatening hazards without warning. Even experienced swimmers can get caught out.”
The seafront team is always happy to advise swimmers on sea conditions and have constant updates on weather conditions. Anyone who wants to swim should talk to the seafront team first.
For those desperate to enjoy a winter dip, Saltdean Lido will be hosting a Christmas Day swim in its heated pool. There will be 2 sessions from 8am to 8.45am and 9am to 9.45am,
Tickets cost £10 and include a hot drink and mince pie. The event was sold out last year, so booking is advisable.
The seafront office 2020 tide timetables for the Brighton & Hove beaches will be available shortly. Information within the booklet also includes a map showing summer lifeguard stations and a list of seafront events.