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Understanding man-made coasts

by Rebecca Cooper, RNLI Lifeguard and Level 4 ITEC Sports Massage Therapist at Milestone Therapy Centre

Here, along the Norfolk coast, our beaches are often formed and influenced by man-made structures, such as, wooden or rock sea defences.

A good example of this is Sea Palling where man-made rock reefs / breakwaters have formed sand banks and bays. Subsequently, the beach has built up to protect the village and lands beyond.

Sand banks and structures within the intertidal zone create currents. Often these currents can be strong, becoming a water safety hazard. Old wooden groynes such as the ones at Happisburgh lay undetected beneath the water and pose an added danger to water users.

Concreate sea walls and structures such as piers and jetties often have a vertical drop into deep water. Man-made structures pose a water safety hazard to beach and water users.

Information and rescue equipment should be located near these structures to identify hazards. If you see someone in danger in the water or around one of these man- made structures call 999 and ask for the Coastguard. If a Life ring or throw bag are available, do not enter the water but use the equipment from a safe position on shore or structure.


Stay safe on our Norfolk beaches by understanding what lies beneath and how the tides and currents react.


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