SOME QUESTIONS ANSWERED
SIGNS There are sometimes obvious signs on the sand as to the presence of a rip current. The trained observer can make out a strong sinuous (snake-like) line along the boundary between the freshly wetted and the dry sand which speaks of a variable or uneven seaward flow of water. A stronger flow is occurring where the line bends towards the sea and is almost certainly a rip current. Also look out for discoloured water where the sand is stirred up by the rip, or foam on the waterâ€™s surface, debris or litter flowing out to sea or a rippled patch of water where the sea around it is calmer. Note: Pick up a free Coleraine Borough Council Beach Safety Leaflet for more details.
Q. WHY ARE CARS ALLOWED ON SOME BEACHES AND NOT OTHERS Cars are permitted on the following north coast beaches: Benone, Downhill, Castlerock, and Portstewart. There is no access for vehicles on to any of the other beaches. The National Trust charge a levy for cars at Portstewart, part of which goes back into the management and care of the beach and dune system. In addition the cars are restricted to certain parts of Portstewart Strand leaving pedestrian and childrensâ€™ playing areas. It is felt that cars generally have a negative impact on sandy beaches partly by compacting the sand, contributing to unnatural beach recession and loss of habitat and even sand removal (attached to car wheels). Always be careful to watch for rising tides and soft sand.
Q. IS DROPPING LITTER ON A BEACH THE SAME AS ON A STREET Litter is simply rubbish in the wrong place. It belongs in a bin and not left on the high street or the beach. Littering is an offence under the Litter (NI) Order 1994 and refers to any waste disposed of to the open air. This clearly includes beaches. Whereas littering in the street environment is equally distasteful, it is easier to facilitate for and remove than in the beach environment. Note: Similarities between jellyfish and plastic bags. Sea turtles find it hard to tell the difference until it is too late and they choke. J.A.