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Safety strategy and guidelines

During Coast Along for WaterAid each team will operate as an independent unit, responsible for its own safety and will practice the principle of self-help at all times. Although we will notify public authorities and the coastguard of Coast Along for WaterAid, they will not be on site during the event. They will treat the day as just another working Saturday.

The coastguards are responsible for dealing with any emergency that occurs on
the coast or at sea. To contact them dial 999 and ask for the coastguard. There are no coastguard lookouts these days, although there is a voluntary organisation, 'Coastwatch', which does provide a shore watch service. 'Coastwatch' will be informed of the Coast Along for WaterAid event.

Communications

If severe weather conditions are forecast for the day of the event then the event day management team will inform all teams at least two days before the event by text message as to whether the event will proceed. The safety of team members is of over-riding importance in the management of and participation in this event.

You should aim to start your walk by 10am and complete by 6pm. Please advise the Coast Along Communications Centre (CCC) at the start and the end of the day on the coast path and notify the safe return of all team members and section of coastpath walked or otherwise.

In the event of any incident please notify the CCC as soon as practical.

Communication will be by mobile phone. Network coverage along the coastpath is ‘patchy’ and teams should consider carrying more than one phone, preferably on more than one network or with network roaming.

Contact numbers for the CCC will be given to Team Leaders before the event. General communications during the event should be by text message. The CCC will be in operation from 07:00 to 20:00 on the day of the event.

Safety Checklist

It is imperative that participants are safe and well equipped during Coast Along for WaterAid. Team Leaders should consider the safety measures and equipment required to ensure the safety of their team. This will depend on a number of factors including:

  • The experience and fitness of your team
  • The weather conditions before the event and the weather forecast for the day
  • The section(s) of Coast Path you are planning to walk

Team Leaders should check the section(s) of Coast Path they are planning to walk for specific hazards which might include walking on roads, across golf courses, along cliff tops or close to tidal waters.

All teams should consider:

  • Appropriate footwear. In wet weather some of the coast-path can become treacherous underfoot. Walking boots or trail shoes are recommended
  • Appropriate clothing including waterproof jacket, trousers, spare warm clothing, hat and gloves – conditions can change fast.
  • Maps of the coast paths Ordnance Survey 1:25,000 scale is recommended. The South West Coast Path guide book and Pembrokeshire National Trail guide gives details of each section.
  • Mobile phones (see note on Communications above)
  • Food and drink Adequate liquids and nutrition are essential, including an emergency reserve
  • First Aid kit (bandages, plasters, antiseptic cream) sun cream or block Teams should also consider additional equipment, particularly for the more difficult sections or in poor weather conditions:
    • Emergency whistle
    • Compass
    • Torch, spare bulb and batteries
    • Walking poles

The coast paths present a variety of walking conditions, from strenuous cliff top walking through to more gentle stretches and promenades through built up areas such as Plymouth and Pembroke Docks. Weather conditions during September are often warm and benign but conditions can change quickly. The intense rainfall and flash floods at Boscastle in 2004 remind us of this. High winds can make walking slow and tiring, and very high winds can make it dangerous along much of the cliff, if close to the edges. Also, strong onshore winds carry spray far inland. The sea also presents particular hazards. Remember that every year people are washed off rocks and drowned, or cut off by the tide and have to be rescued.

Country Code

  • Guard against all risks of fire
  • Fasten all gates
  • Keep to the paths across farmland
  • Avoid damaging fences, wild plants and trees
  • Go carefully on country roads
  • Respect the life of the countryside.