Above are archive images covering incidents over several years that are depressingly similar. Holy Island and other locations are connected to the coast or river banks by causeways that flood twice a day. There is no mystery about tidal conditions and near these locations there are always shops and RNLI Lifeboat Stations where current tide tables and advice is available. Even with tide tables there are those who fail to appreciate that tide times change predictably approximately one hour later each day.
It is very difficult to know what else can be done to avoid vehicles and hikers becoming stranded on a flooding causeway. In the case of the Holy Island causeway there are now large electronic warning signs. Short of adding railroad-style level crossing gates at each end there is nothing more that could possibly be done and level crossing experiences show that some people will find a way round closed gates or just drive straight through them.
The best advice is to ask locals and buy tide tables before attempting to use a tidal causeway. Understand how long it will take to drive or walk across the causeway. Take a mobile phone or radiotelephone in case an accident or vehicle failure strands you. If you are stranded, Holy Island causeway has sanctuaries, huts on stilts above high water mark. Go directly to the closest sanctuary and await help. Make sure that someone not in your party knows you will make the crossing and expect to arrive safely at an estimated time.
Understand also that the RNLI Lifeboat Station at Seahouses, and its flank stations, will respond to a call from the Coastguard in virtually all conditions. They are volunteers who will risk their lives to save you. Understand also that conditions along the British coasts can change very rapidly as shown above where the Seahouses RIB crew responds to a stranded vehicle in calm, but often misty conditions, and the Seahouses All Weather Lifeboat is responding to a call for help in even more challenging conditions. Also understand that a vehicle inundated by sea water may be a total write-off, as will most of its contents.
Why not check with the Lifeboat Station for crossing advice and make a generous donation to help them continue to provide vital aid (they depend entirely on donations from the public and are not funded from the public purse)?….. SARN Ed.
Seahouses RNLI Inshore Lifeboat was requested to launch by UK Coastguard at 2.50pm on Wednesday 14 August 2019, to go to the assistance of two persons and a dog, in a car cut off by the tide on Holy Island Causeway, at the Holy Island side.
Holy Island and Berwick Coastguard Teams had also been mobilised. Holy Island Coastguards managed to get the people and dog safely ashore, as the Lifeboat arrived in the area. The Inshore Lifeboat was then stood down and returned to station.
Safe Crossing times for today were 06:05hr this morning and 13:30hr, and unsafe from 13:30hr till 18:35hr. High tide at Holy Island was 15:24.
There are no photographs of this incident.