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Beach safety - the baïnes phenomenon

Prevention is better than cure !

One of our Cuban members (Antonio Montano) confirmed that this happens in winter when there are big waves. Even if the phenomenon is perhaps not common there, it is better to know what to do!

Beach safety - the baïnes phenomenon

Baïne: some extracts from Wikipedia

“A baïne is a temporary depression or residual pool resembling a natural swimming pool formed between the coast and a sandbank . At low tide, the baïnes appear as a succession of regular cavities.

This temporary geological formation is found on most coasts of the world but the term baïne is in use in the south-west of France on the Atlantic coast where they are mainly seen on the neo-Aquitaine coast ( Côte d'Argent and Côte wild of the Arvert peninsula and the island of Oléron ). On the coasts of Brittany or the English Channel they are called tarpaulins. Other synonyms for this phenomenon are beach furrow and pre-coastal furrow.


The baïnes are formed on a relief where the tidal phenomenon is strong, the sand is fine, the difference in altitude is low, and with a strong swell . Swells move sand along the shoreline, interfering with currents perpendicular to the beach. These currents carry the bottom sand out to sea, thus digging basins visible at low tide which can reach 100 meters wide and 4 to 5 meters deep. Each bath has its own morphology and generates different forms of current.

When the tide covers the bay, the water escapes violently downstream according to a drainage system. It is theseoutflows from the baïnes”, or rip currents , which cause accidents every year. The best behavior to adopt is then to let yourself be carried by the current without putting up any resistance and to attract the attention of the rescuers or to try to reach the beach by swimming sideways, to exit the current from the sides. It is useless to face the current head on and return exactly to your starting point 5 . The danger manifests itself during the 2nd and 3rd hours of the rising tide when the waves pass over the sandbank which partly separates the bay from the sea, and also during the 4th and 5th hours of the falling tide.

Video of just over 8 minutes which is very well done and which explains how to react if you find yourself in a bath:

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