Keeping safe in the water at Crantock Beach

View from the dunes at Crantock Beach

We want you to enjoy a fabulous and most of all safe visit to Crantock Beach. The River Gannel that runs alongside and sometimes across the beach has changed profile and continues to do so. This means it’s more important than ever to follow the advice of the RNLI and only swim in designated areas when the lifeguards are present.

What has changed at Crantock Beach?

We think that during storms over the past 18 months or so sand has significantly shifted on the sea and river beds. There is a breakwater that guides the river and this has, at times, become ineffective because of sand building up.

The Gannel’s natural course is across the beach before heading out to sea. The breakwater keeps the river hugging East Pentire – the headland to the right of the beach.

How does this affect the sea conditions?

The Gannel causes currents that can be dangerous, in particular at certain stages of the tide. This is the reason why the lifeguards advise not swimming near the river flow and only when and where they designate it is safe to do so.

There have also been some reports of quicksand close to the river edge and at the far end of the beach towards West Pentire. We suggest that visitors remain vigilant especially in these two areas of beach.

When can I swim safely?

The RNLI strongly advise that visitors should only swim when lifeguards are present and obey the flags that are put up on the beach and show you where and when it is safe to enter the water.
Lifeguards are on duty from 20 May to 1 October, 2017 at Crantock Beach. When the RNLI are not present (from November until May) we recommend swimming at another lifeguarded beach in the area e.g. Fistral (north) beach in Newquay.

I’ve got a surf lesson booked. Will this be affected?

No. The Big Green Surf School is licensed by the Trust to operate at Crantock Beach and all the instructors are qualified beach lifeguards. All staff under-go intensive in-house training to ensure customer safety. They conduct daily beach assessments and have an impeccable safety record.

Although independent from the RNLI the Big Green management team have undergone an advance lifesaving course with the RNLI and are now RNLI Community Responders. They co-ordinate with the lifeguards and lessons are only carried out when it is deemed safe.

Why isn’t the breakwater just shored up to make it effective again?

This isn’t as easy as it may appear. Bigger and more frequent storms mean that even if expensive beach works are carried out, any benefits might be very short lived. One storm or a period of rough sea conditions could render the breakwater ineffective again in a few hours.

The Trust is closely working with the neighbouring landowner (the Duchy of Cornwall which owns the beach below mean high water) and we will continue to co-ordinate with other interested organisations including the RNLI to monitor the situation at Crantock Beach.