The lifeguards on the Belgian coast are on alert for the coming weekend at sea, as they are expecting thousands of tourists, but weather models are predicting a spring tide, combined with a strong wind.
Although Belgium is in the middle of a heatwave, temperatures at sea this weekend will remain below 30°C, and many people are expected to seek some cooling on the coast and in the sea.
"We are on paying close attention. Not only because of the good weather and the crowds but also because of the combination with spring tide this weekend," An Beun of the Intercommunal Coastal Rescue Service of West Flanders (IKWV) told Belga News Agency.
"At spring tide the water rises very quickly, and that at the busiest time of the day. There is also a serious wind at sea and all these factors make it extra dangerous," she added. "The sea is really treacherous now."
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The Coastal Rescue Service therefore once again calls on people to follow the instructions of the lifeguards and to only swim in supervised zones.
I understand that people want to look for calmer places in these crowds, but that is often how you end up in unguarded zones," said Beun. "If you are planning to swim, please do so in a supervised area. It can make a difference in these dangerous conditions."
Additionally, the lifeguards also advise beach-goers to settle on the dry sand. "At spring tide, there is much less space left on the beach. Those who do not sit on dry sand may be surprised by the rapidly rising water."