A lifeguard at the popular Store Bay in Tobago has urged people to avoid entering the water amid an orange-level advisory for rough seas, issued by the Met Office on Thursday.
The alert went into effect at 2pm on Friday and runs until midday on Wednesday.
The alert warns of large breaking waves near 3.5 metres along the nearshore, north-exposed coastlines. Choppy conditions are also likely especially along the northern-facing coastlines in the Gulf of Paria. It also warned that conditions would be amplified during high tides and exacerbated at spring tides. It said that the effects would first be experienced on the northern shorelines of Tobago.
It said conditions will be dangerous for swimming and small craft operations while very high surf and dangerous rip currents are expected near the affected coastlines.
The Met Office advised the public to keep monitoring the sea conditions, follow instructions from lifeguards and keep abreast of information from official news sources.
At the Store Bay Beach Facility, there were no bathers in the water, however a number of people sat on the shore and on benches enjoying the scenery.
One man with his family said, “We were aware of the advisory, so we just came out to take a break from the Christmas work and enjoy outside a little bit. We’re definitely not going into the water.”
One woman said she wasn’t interested in the water as she enjoyed a meal.
“From since I small, I have always heard that sea does be rough around Christmas so the advisory really means nothing to me. I don’t intend to go in the water today nor during the advised period, nor do I intend to take family members nor friends.”
Another woman nearby said: “That has nothing to do with me, I’m not going into the water.”
She encouraged others to stay away from the beaches.
“People, don’t go into the water. It so bad that there is an advisory, heed the warnings.”
One lifeguard who was on duty said beachgoers need to be extremely cautious.
“There is an advisory out – pay particular attention. If sea conditions look dangerous, avoid entering the water, avoid going to lonely and small beaches where you can be trapped or blocked from the exit route.
“Parents, please be within arm’s reach of your children at all times.
“Bathers, please don’t overestimate your swimming ability and attempt to go towards these large waves and do remember, visit the beaches patrolled by lifeguards and for your safety, listen and adhere to the advice of the lifeguards at all times.”
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