The need to improve beach safety

THE tragic drowning of 14 year-old Hollie McClymont in Whitmore Bay last June reveals the need to further improve beach safety.

While there is limited scope to stop people swimming outside the designated zone, maybe one lesson from the tragedy is to improve awareness of how passers-by could respond more effectively in the event of an emergency.

Psychological studies reveal that in critical situations most people’s likely reactions is to do nothing or panic, while the ‘Bystander Effect’ reveals another reality, that the greater the number of people present, the less likely people are to help a person in distress, expecting others to act instead.

Is there now a need for warning signs to nudge people into constructive behaviours in an emergency by reminding them to act, and not rely on others to do so, and how - in a potential moment of panic - help is easily at hand?

While it would be aesthetically and environmentally inappropriate to plaster the area with Health and Safety warnings, perhaps appropriately designed ‘be alert to an emergency’ signs could prevent another Hollie McClymont-like tragedy.

If anyone has any other ideas on this subject please share and post them on the Barry Ideasbank at

We all need to learn from this tragic event.

Andy Green

Barry IdeasBank

Pidoen For

Barry Island


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