Christmas Day swim on Brighton Beach called off over safety fears

Customs and Traditions - Brighton Swimming Club Christmas Day Swim

Brighton's annual Christmas swim has been cancelled amid safety fears, following increasing levels of drunkenness in recent years.

Every year, swimmers brave wintery elements to take part in Brighton Swimming Club's Christmas Day swim.

The event has been taking place since 1860.

However, this year, swimmers have been warned to stay away from the sea.

According to the BBC, the beach around Brighton Pier will be closed in a bid to stop swimmers entering the water on Christmas Day, the council said.

Chris Ingall, the seafront manager, warned about the dangers of inexperienced swimmers entering the water.

"Sea swimming takes skill, stamina and knowledge of the physical dangers and should only be for the very experienced, using suitable wetsuits, in very calm conditions.

"The combination of the amount of people and their inexperience, and some of the drinking as well, it's an accident waiting to happen, and accidents have happened", he added.

Health and safety officials fear a repeat of an incident in October, when a swimmer had to be rescued after getting into difficulty near the pier, reports the Telegraph.

They also cited the death of a Hastings woman who died during a Christmas Day swim in 2012.

"It is a shame to break tradition," said Margaret Tuppen, the president of the swimming club.

"I do moan about health and safety sometimes, but the conclusion of the meeting was that it can be quite dangerous - especially when drink is involved.

"If it means a tragedy is prevented, then we support the decision."

Roger Cohen, Brighton RNLI lifeboat operations manager, said the RNLI did not condone cold-water swimming mixed with alcohol consumption, but his team would be at hand to respond to any incidents.

He added: "We'll always be on hand to respond to any calls, but I hope there are none."

Caribbean-esque beaches in Britain
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Christmas Day swim on Brighton Beach called off over safety fears
Saint Lucia? This is Vatersay beach in Scotland's Outer Hebrides, the southern-most inhabited island and one of the most scenic and beautiful in the archipelago. With vast white sandy beaches and turquoise waters comparable to those found in the Caribbean, time spent on this idyllic island will be memorable for a long time to come. It has great views towards the now uninhabited islands of Sandray, Pabbay and Mingulay and is home to some of the largest colonies of seabirds including razorbill, gannet, guillemot and puffin.

The crystal clear water at Port Gaverne near Port Isaac could be easily mistaken for a Caribbean beach. The sheltered, narrow cove has plenty of sand at low tide and may be the quaintest cove in North Cornwall nestling in under the cliffs. At high tide, it is an excellent diving spot and the sunset is as dreamy as you'll find in Antigua.

Wow! Look at that powder white sand. It could be mistaken for a secluded spot in the Virgin Islands, but this stunning stretch of sand is in Shetland. The Sands of Breckon is a white sand beach in the North of Yell, which has the largest area of shell sand dune and dune grassland in Shetland. The beautiful blue flag beach is sheltered from the prevailing south-westerly winds and provides a wonderful view of the sunset over the Atlantic Ocean.
This breathtaking beach in Wales reminds us of the idyllic sands of St Barts or Grenada. Harlech’s huge, peaceful beach is not just flat sand – the beautiful sand dunes here are a prized feature, the reason behind the area’s designation as a National Nature Reserve and Site of Special Scientific Interest. The beach is an ideal place for children to play and an even better spot for adults to sit back and relax. Near the beach there’s a shop, café and the internationally famous Royal St David’s Golf Club, one of Britain’s finest links courses.
This spectacular sandy beach forms a white arc between two headlands on the North Antrim coast. In this secluded location, even on a busy day there is plenty of room for quiet relaxation. Whitepark Bay is backed by ancient dunes that provide a range of rich habitats for bird and animal life. The Caribbean-esque beach has a golden stretch of sand, perfect for lazy summer days, picnic and long walks.
Rhossili Bay boasts a three-mile sandy beach, overlooked by National Trust holiday cottage, the Old Rectory. Visible on the beach at low tide are the remains of the Helvetia, a ship wrecked in 1887. From the top of Rhossili Down, the highest point on Gower, views of the peninsula can be seen as well as across the sea to West Wales, Lundy Island and the north Devon coast. The stunning beach fought off competition from many beaches in the Caribbean to be named one of the world's best in a 2013 TripAdvisor survey.
Secluded Kynance Cove on Cornwall's Lizard Peninsula is considered one of the most beautiful beaches in the world - and you can see why! Its defining features are the serpentine rock formations with a distinctive pinnacle to the north of the beach. The beautiful beach, with its Caribbean-style sand and crystal clear water is one of Cornwall's most photographed spots.
A small bay backed by dunes and pine trees, accessible only by a half-mile walk from the nearest car park, Barafundle Bay has been voted many times as one of the best beaches in Britain and the world. Swathes of golden sand and crystal clear waters, it is often likened to a Caribbean beach. If you're looking for an isolated spot, this pristine beach is the place and has no facilities.
The beaches on small Outer Hebridean island Berneray are so beautiful that one was once mistakenly used in a campaign by the Thailand Tourist Board to promote the Asian country's beaches! The picturesque West Beach (pictured) is a three-mile stretch of machair bordered by white sand.
The superb tidal sands and beautiful shallow lagoons at Pedn Voudner in Treen make it a fantastic option for beachgoers looking for a taste of the Caribbean. Set between Logan Rock and Porthcurno, the beach is accessible by boat or from the coasta foot path along the cliffs. It is also an unofficial naturist beach - the perfect spot to strip off!
A favourite among locals and visitors, Portrush Whiterocks Beach is famed for its limestone cliffs, grassy knolls and incredible views. The sandy beach is a popular place for surfing and bodyboarding, and is home to a labyrinth of specatacular caves and arches including Shelagh's Head, the Wishing Arch and Lion's Paw.
Running from the pier at Ballycastle Marina at the western end to Pans Rock in the east, Ballycastle Beach is a fabulous 1.2km beach with beautiful sand and some shingle. A lovely spot for bathing and walking, in the distance you can see the Pans Rocks rock formation jutting out into the sea and the hidden Devil's Churn, with its underwater sea tunnel.
With its white sand and turquoise waters, Alchmelvich is a pretty beach popular for water skiing and kayaking. In the summer you can spot porpoisess swimming and the blue flag beach attracts fishermen, with cod, haddock, whiting, pollack, saithe and mackerel being common catches.
Described by visitors as a paradise, Porthcurno, located in the far west of Cornwall is famed for its gorgeous fine soft white sand washed by a sea that turns turquoise in the sun and high cliffs on both sides. The oasis of stunning natural beauty is popular with families and has a stream that flows down one side.

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