Of all the animals of prey, man is the only sociable one.
Every one of us preys upon his neighbour, and yet we herd together.
The Beggar's Opera: John Gay

Friday 30 November 2012

Sea-level of ignorance

Here at the Tavern, we have a great deal of respect for the men and women of the RNLI, ready to drop everything at a moment's notice and risk their lives on behalf of those in peril on the sea.

Some shouts, however, are less critical than others...
Staff from a Sea Life aquarium had to be rescued from the sea after they were stranded by an incoming tide.
Oh dear! Though you have to admit that it is rather funny...
The group of four from Southend Sea Life Adventure Aquarium were out near the town's pier head taking samples when they were cut off on Thursday.
....actually, it's very funny....
They ended up knee-deep in water and were unable to get back to shore.
...Stop! It's too much!
A volunteer Hovercraft crew from the Southend RNLI brought them back to shore and gave them safety advice.
*wipes tears from eyes*

Unbelievable! Though the RNLI do seem to be spending a disproportionate amount of their time rescuing latter-day Cnuts from the incoming waves, you'd have thought these people, at least, might have some inkling that the tide goes in and out.

According to the Sea-Life Centre's website:
'We like to call this Edu-tainment because we can guarantee that not only will you find the themed displays entertaining but we are sure you will go away knowing something new about the life that lives in our planet’s seas and oceans.'
Just don't expect them to know anything about the sea itself.

Full fathom five thy father lies;
Of his bones are coral made;
Overtaken by the tide;
As out from Southend he did wade.
Past the pier we watched them range,
Their lack of knowledge passing strange
That with the hours the tide would swell:
What's this?
The water's rising - bloody hell!


  1. Ha ha - love the poem. You could send it to the RNLI.

  2. Awesome! Trapped knee deep in water a few yards offshore! It must have been terrifying. Terrifyingly funny, that is.

    The RNLI should have just told them to man up and start walking.

  3. AKH, I'd like to think that, strictly off the record, crew members discuss these incidents in similar terms among themselves.

    MW, I'm somehow reminded of the woman from your recent post pictured walking with her daughter along a muddy track in clothing and footwear more suited to an urban shopping mall.

    It's as if some of the population have lost all touch with their external environment; a few generations, it seems, is all it takes to lose the survival skills honed over countless millennia.

  4. Having read your various posts on things like this, I have to say they are absolutely commonplace all round the coast.

    I sail on the Clyde, and it's completely routine every warm weekend afternoon in the summer, especially when the wind's in the East, to hear the vhf burst into life with "Any vessel in the vicinity of Ardrossan, any vessel in the vicinity of Ardrossan, this is Clyde Coastguard..." (or Troon, or Barassie, or Girvan, or anywhere with a beach, basically).

    It will be some kids blown out to sea on one of these toys.

    It would be funny if it weren't life-threatening and no doubt - for them - terrifying.

    Of course, the PTB are busy compounding the situation by closing the Clyde Coastguard station and having everything run from Stornoway, I assume to save money. Whether the fine lads and lassies in Stornoway know where Ardrossan is - or even where the Clyde is - remains to be seen. But it will be cheaper, at least in money.

  5. Demetrius, that accounts for 11mm of it sonce 1990 - it's official!

    WY; are these incidents, I wonder, a feature of beaches that serve a primarily urban population?

    Perhaps so much has been invested in creating a 'safe' environment for children in cities - from soft play areas to traffic controls - that their parents are unlikely to appreciate the vigilance required by the hazards of the tidal range and offshore breezes.

  6. The comments to that story are great! Fish puns never go out of fashion...

  7. "Perhaps so much has been invested in creating a 'safe' environment for children in cities - from soft play areas to traffic controls - that their parents are unlikely to appreciate the vigilance required by the hazards of the tidal range and offshore breezes."

    Similarly, the number of people in recent flooding requiring rescue because they've regarded their 4x4 as a 'get out of the laws of physics free' card?

  8. Julia, I found the story at the more reticent BBC, but the Echo comments are here.

    Unfortunately, those 4x4 drivers aren't always the ones who suffer.

    Most of the callouts round here, according to a local farmer, are when sensible drivers creeping round the edge of a flood have their engines swamped by waves from 4x4s speeding through the middle.


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