Coastal Safety Advice

Coastal Safety Advice – Wirral and Sefton Coasts and River Mersey

We all want people to enjoy our lovely coastlines however failure to acknowledge the potential dangers and take due care can easily spoil your day and life.

There are many dangers on our coast – most are easily avoided with a bit of forethought

  • It’s vital to check out the local tide times – information is widely available on the internet, via smartphone Apps and in booklet form from stationers, angling supplies and many others.
  • Our station shop carries a stock of tide table booklets for £2 each [2015]

    Available from our lifeboat shop

    Available from our lifeboat shop


Both the Wirral and Sefton coasts have extensive areas of sandbank and mud. The tides come in really quickly along the many channels and gullies and can easily catch the unwary out and cut them off from land.

With the tide coming in you may find yourself up to your knees on a sandbank but to reach safety you may have to wade or swim through the much deeper water of the channels.

The tide covers these areas several hours before high tide..

Mud and Soft Sand

There are large areas particularly on the Sefton coast in the vicinity of the Gormley Statues – take note of the warning signs in the area.

On the Wirral side of the Mersey from Vale Park to Seacombe – great care is needed as is the Rock Ferry area.

We have rescued people up to their chest in mud.

Cold can affect you very quickly as the heat flows from your body.

High Tides

We are often subject to dramatic high tides in this area particularly when the wind is blowing strongly form the North / North West. Huge waves often break over the sea wall or along the promenade on the River Mersey.

Photographers in great number are often attracted to such scenes and adults and children love to dodge the waves.

Many however don’t fully take into account the dangers:

  • Debris carried in on a breaking wave – bricks, stones, chunks of wood, bikes, prams, shopping trolleys etc. Note following the next high tide check how much debris is left behind on the promenade and high water mark.
  • The weight of water in a breaking wave is considerable – the force of it can knock you over or worse drag you into the sea if you are in an exposed position eg: on or near slipway or steps
  • Slipways and Steps are to be avoided – they are often as the name suggests slippy so a breaking wave can easily knock you off your feet and take you into the sea –  photographers in particular take note – as they are often concentrating on the picture rather than the environment that they are in. No picture is worth your life or that of anyone who tries to save you!
  • Keep pets on a lead – we have had several cases recently of dogs ending up in the sea/river having been swept in down slipways or steps and carried off by the tide on the turn. In the cases of rescuing dogs in difficulty its vital that the owners or passers-by do not try to rescue the animals but call for help instead – call 999 ask for HM Coastguard. In many cases the animal will manage to get itself back to land however the human drowns!.

Swimming and Paddling

  • Be aware of the state of the tide – particularly dangerous when on the turn as you can easily be caught in Rip currents and washed out to sea.
  • Only swim in the flagged areas and when lifeguards are on patrol . On Wirral and Sefton coasts they are in position at weekends from Easter  to  end September and 7 days a week during summer holidays and bank holidays.

The RNLI provide more information on varies aspects of safety

click on link:  RNLI – Respect the Water

Click on an image to enlarge – It can get very rough in this area