Exposed coastal areas of Cornwall could see waves of up to nine feet in the coming days according to the RNLI and HM Coastguard, who have put out a join warning for people to say safe.

They are urging people to visit lifeguarded beaches and take extra care on Friday and Saturday as forecasts predict dangerous sea conditions, involving large swells, strong winds and spring tides.

Current forecasts for Friday and Saturday are predicting wave heights between six and nine feet on exposed coastline, coupled with strong south westerly winds across the region.

These conditions, alongside large spring tides, can result in a dangerous sea state and increase the risk of strong rip currents, they said.

No one should enter the water if they see a red flag at a lifeguarded beach, as it is unsafe for any water activities - and if there are no flags, there are no lifeguards.

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The two emergency services have also warned that spring tides and surging waves meant people could very easily get cut off by the incoming tide and reminded anyone heading to the coast of the importance of checking the tide times and ensuring they have enough time to return if they decide to venture further along the beach.

Steve Instance, RNLI water safety lead for the south west, said: "When we experience conditions such as this, especially during the summer when the region is busy with visitors, it is incredibly important that those heading to the coast keep themselves safe by choosing a lifeguarded beach and visiting within the patrol hours of 10am and 6pm.

"With changeover days for holidaymakers on Fridays and Saturdays, those arriving to the area may not be up to date with local news and forecasts so could be caught unaware of the conditions.

Falmouth Packet:

An RNLI lifeguard on a rescue watercraft in large surf . Photo: RNLI

"RNLI lifeguards are there to offer advice so if you are unsure about anything, make sure you ask a lifeguard. They will be able to provide information on tide times and guide you to the safest area to swim which will be between the red and yellow flags.

"Anyone surfing should know their limits and always stay within the black and white flagged area."

Claire Hughes, director of HM Coastguard, agreed: "We’ve seen so many times how easy it is to get caught out by the sea.

"Make sure you are always contactable at the coast by carrying a fully-charged mobile phone and if you get into trouble or see someone else in trouble, call 999 and ask for the Coastguard."

If you find yourself caught in a rip current, try to follow this safety advice:

  • Swim parallel to the shore until free of the rip and then head for shore.
  • Do not try to swim against the rip current or you’ll get exhausted.
  • Always raise your hand and shout for help.