Tide Safety

Most holiday destinations have tides which rise only a metre or so whereas Fleetwood and Knott End have the 2nd highest tidal ranges in the UK and in the top 10 in the world.
Our waters rise up to 10.6m between low tide and high tide causing our sand banks to cover quickly.

North of Fleetwood we have about 2 square miles of tempting sands but a network of gullies mean it's easy to get cut off.

Tide tables predict when and how the tide will come in and go out but can seem complicated.

Tide times are readily available including notice boards at the Marine Hall, Fleetwood or online at sites such as the BBC.

HM Coastguard, RNLI and NCI offer some joint advice:

1. Before venturing out onto the banks, look at the tide times for the day you are visiting.

2. Find the time for low water (LW).

3. Be thinking of coming back towards the shore by the time of (LW). For Example, Wyre Light is almost 2 miles out and on soft sand even fit and able walkers will need at least 40 minutes to get back.

4. Be back ashore by 2hrs after LW at the very latest.

It is very easy to find yourself cut off without knowing as you can't see the gullies filling behind you. If you do get caught out, call 999 immediately and ask for Coastguard.


A walk on the sands is a wonderful experience but it is a serious undertaking; people have drowned!
Take heed of the advice above, carry a mobile telephone AND a compass.
A compass? Yes, I have known thick fog to come down remarkably quickly.


But is the Knott End beach wet or dry? The beach is wet during Spring Tides (these occur around Full Moon and New Moon). Note: the word Spring has notning to do with the season, it simoly means that the tides have a large amplitude and spring in and out.
The beach is dry at other times when the tides have a smaller amplitude: Neap Tides. Neap tides happen during the quarter or three-quarter moon.
The complete moon cycle from New (0%) to Full (50%) to New (100%) takes approximately 30 days so the beach is wet at approximately fortnightly intervals and dry at approximately fortnightly intervals.

Look carefully at the image above, particularly the Age of the Moon.  Then decide if the beach is wet or dry.

Knott End beach is DRY
When the Moon's Age is approximately

25%     or     75%

This is the phase of the moon today

the moon
Knott End beach is WET
When the Moon's Age is approximately

0%     50%     or     100%

Note: anyone venturing out on the sands must be aware that the speed and height of any tide is dependent on weather conditions.

A depression over the Irish Sea can add a couple of feet on to the sea level and a few days of south westerly gales can have a similar effect. Add on to that a few days of heavy rain in the hills surrounding the bay and there can be a problem if the whole lot coincides with a high spring tide. The higher the tide, the faster and sooner it comes in.

A 2 metre tidal surge is not unknown in Morecambe Bay, sometimes with unfortunate results, such as the 'Great Inundation of the Sea' in 1720. Such a surge also occurred about 50 years ago and resulted in extensive flooding all across Pilling Moss. Shortly afterwards the sea defences were raised all the way from Knott End to Pilling and the new sea wall was constructed across Cockerham Marsh which reclaimed a lot of salt marsh and prevented spring tides from cutting off the road connection as they had done since time immemorial.