Tourists urged to heed Holy Island safe crossing times after dozens of emergency call-outs to Lindisfarne causeway

An innovative new way of reducing the number of tourists caught out on Holy Island’s tidal causeway has been launched.

Thursday, 1st August 2019, 2:02 pm
Updated Thursday, 1st August 2019, 11:17 pm
Ian Clayton of Seahouses lifeboat and Michael Avril of Berwick lifeboat are helping to raise awareness about safe crossing times on Holy Island causeway.

The RNLI is asking tourism businesses to help it spread the message about safe crossing times.

There have been more than 50 emergency call outs to motorists stuck on or by the Holy Island causeway in the last five years and numbers are increasing.

Most are holidaymakers or visitors who may not be aware that the rising tide cuts off access to and from the island twice a day.

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The refuge box on Holy Island tidal causeway.

Now, working with the Maritime and Coastguard Agency and Northumberland County Council, the RNLI has produced a range of products including posters, coffee cup wraps, coasters and bags, all bearing the RNLI’s safety messages and links to tide time information.

Michael Avril, community safety partner with the RNLI, said: “Tourists are the most likely to get caught out. That’s why we need the help of local businesses where those tourists visit, stay and eat. Too often they don’t think twice. Sometimes there is the language barrier too.

“Sometimes people think they can drive through a little bit of water but they don’t realise there are dips in the causeway where the water is deeper. Then if they turn around t go back, the tide has been coming in around them and they’re surrounded by water.”

Ian Clayton, Seahouses lifeboat operations manager, added: “A lot of people who don’t live by the coast have no appreciation of the tides. Sometimes there’s also a sheep mentality whereby they see one car crossing then think it’s okay to follow suit.”

Holly and Hannah Bass from Berwick Upon Tweed Lifeboat Station show of some of the safety information products.

Martin Lowe, HM Coastguard senior coastal operations manager, said: “We need tourists to check the tide times before they visit the island so they know it’s safe and get it through to them that they should never cross if there is water on the road.”

Steve Mitchinson, general manager of holiday cottages company, Northumbria Byways, said: “We have thousands of holidaymakers coming every year and we know tourists are more likely to be caught out by the tide. We hope this campaign will get the message across and we fully support it.”

Businesses can order their free pack by emailing [email protected]

The RNLI is raising awareness of safe crossing times across the Holy Island causeway.