Respect the sea; fear its might and stay safe in the water

This summer, seemingly more than for a few years, the sea in particular has been at its worst.

This summer, seemingly more than for a few years, the sea in particular has been at its worst.

I have a very healthy respect for water.

I'll use a shower, wash up, water the plants, go out in the rain, get in a bath and swim in a pool with lifeguards on patrol. That is as far as I will go in the pursuit of getting wet.

I am not embarrassed to confess that I am extremely nervous – no, very frightened – of deep water.

Watching the Poseidon Adventure as a child made cross-Channel ferry trips a trial of dark imaginings. The sinking of the Herald of Free Enterprise in the Channel made those imaginings adhere to my thoughts.

As a youngster who was not a strong swimmer, I also developed a terror of the sea during family holidays to the Mediterranean.


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I always wanted my feet to touch the seabed, preferably with most of my top half out of the water.

The trepidation has endured: I rarely set more than a toe in the sea.

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Should I be a bit braver? Maybe.

But I prefer to take no risks with any sea, ocean, lake or river. They are – literally – death traps.

They kill by many means, including cold, strong currents, depth, extreme tides and even with some of the creatures and plants that live beneath the surface.

This summer, seemingly more than for a few years, the sea in particular has been at its worst.

The drownings at Camber Sands are the latest in a catalogue of deaths around our coast – including some in this region.

We do not know the exact circumstances of many of the fatalities, but we do know that people made decisions that had tragic consequences for them, and heartbreaking ones for their families.

All I will say is this: be careful to the point of over-cautious; assume the worst; if you have doubts, stay out of the water.

Some say respect the water, which is fine. I say fear it, which double-locks things.

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