Warning that venturing onto rock groynes could end in tragedy

A beach-goer climbs a navigation marker. Picture: Simon Horn

A beach-goer climbs a navigation marker. Picture: Simon Horn - Credit: Archant

A child runs the risk of suffering serious injury - or even death - by swinging on a navigation marker off Sidmouth seafront.

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- Credit: Archant

This picture, taken by Herald photographer Simon Horn, shows a youngster ignoring warnings and climbing out to play on one of the breakwaters last weekend.

Despite the clear signs, Sidmouth Lifeboat is called upon at least once-a-year to rescue beachgoers who find themselves stranded on the man-made rock islands.

Senior coxswain Phil Shepperd said there was a particular risk for small children who could become trapped in gaps between the boulders.

He added: “There was once an incident when a child got between the rocks and couldn’t get back up.


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“Nothing serious has happened yet, but it’s obviously a very dangerous situation if the tide is coming in.

“Normally it’s kids out there, but you have to think there is probably an adult there too letting them do it.”

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East Devon District Council, which is responsible for the breakwaters, says it takes the issue of safety on the town’s beaches extremely seriously.

A spokeswoman said: “Anyone climbing on the rocks or the navigation markers runs the very real risk of incurring potentially life-changing spinal injuries or even fatality. We have always strongly advised people to stay off of the groynes - not only in the interests of their own safety, but also because of possible damage to publicly maintained navigation lights, which are vital for boat safety and therefore the lives of the crews.”

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