Tyne & Wear

Whitley Bay New Year's Day dippers ignore safety warning

Whitley Bay dip Image copyright PA Media
Image caption An estimated 300 people took part

Hundreds of people braved the chilly North Sea to take part in a New Year's Day dip on Tyneside, despite a warning it may not be safe.

Crowds gathered at Whitley Bay for the annual event, which has previously been organised by a local swimming club.

The Tynemouth Volunteer Lifeboat Brigade had urged people not to take part due to the lack of an organiser.

But an estimated 300 people turned up to dip their toes into water which had a temperature of about 9C (48F).

Some taking part had travelled from as far as Northern Ireland and Leicestershire.

Image copyright PA Media
Image caption The Whitley Bay event had previously been organised by a local swimming club

The brigade had a safety patrol in the area from the time the dip began at 11:00 GMT, although there were no reported injuries.

Secretary Peter Lilley said: "With the prospect of hundreds of people entering the water in one go, we were concerned that participants may go further into the sea than they would normally, and would also be at risk of cold water shock given the time of year and cold sea conditions.

"Attempts have been made to identify an organiser of the dip, but it appears that there is not one and it takes place based on word of mouth and local traditions.

"To be clear, we are not saying that going into the sea is a dangerous act, but we want people to enjoy our beautiful coastline in a safe and responsible manner."

Image copyright PA Media
Image caption Some people had travelled from as far as Northern Ireland
Image copyright PA Media
Image caption Many of those taking part donned fancy dress

Related Topics

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites