Christmas Day swim on Brighton Beach called off over safety fears

150-year-old Christmas tradition cancelled

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

Caribbean-esque beaches in Britain

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