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Jellyfish sightings drop in Folkestone and Hythe after weekend's storms

By Molly Mileham-Chappell

A coastal rescue charity say the presence of jellyfish along part of the Kent coast has diminished after the weekend's bad weather.

Folkestone Rescue reported last month that the sea creatures had plagued the beaches in Folkestone and Hythe and on Romney Marsh with an increase in sightings.

It is believed that several weeks of warmer weather enticed the marine life into shallower waters, sparking a safety warning from the rescue group.

The jellyfish at Dymchurch. Credit: Jonathan Tye (3101233)
The jellyfish at Dymchurch. Credit: Jonathan Tye (3101233)

Logistics manager Chris Lightwing suggested that sea swimmers should consider wearing wetsuits and other protective gear when venturing into the water.

But stormy weather on Friday and heavy rainfall on Sunday is thought to have washed the creatures away from the shore.

Russell Reilly, communications manager for Folkestone Rescue, said: "The shoreline has been quiet since.

"I've been down there from Monday through to Thursday and we've had no sightings of jellyfish or anyone coming to us with bites or stings.

"It's a good sign."

He said it is difficult to predict if they will return now the hot weather is back, but insisted the volunteers are on hand to help if beach visitors happen come across one: "We have always got stuff in our bags ready to deal with it.

"We're always happy to help where possible."

Folkestone Rescue says the number of jellyfish in the waters near the town has gone down
Folkestone Rescue says the number of jellyfish in the waters near the town has gone down

He added that jelly or aqua shoes are very beneficial when going in the sea to prevent cutting your feet or bites from weever fish, which have also been spotted in the district.

The charity, who work alongside Dover Coastguard, the RNLI and NCI Folkestone, have responded to numerous incidents over the last couple of months.

A particularly bad day for jellyfish stings was on Sunday, July 22 when up to 30 children were stung in the water where jellyfish could be seen 'every couple of metres'.

The organisation, which covers the coast between Sandgate and Dover, had 10 volunteer crew members working on the seafront in anticipation of the crowds that day for the Folkestone and Hythe RAF 100 air show and other planned events.

Fortunately, most of the injuries were minor and required no further treatment needed after the stings had been neutralised with vinegar.

Folkestone Sunny Sands on Sunday, July 22. Picture: Paul Amos
Folkestone Sunny Sands on Sunday, July 22. Picture: Paul Amos

While in most cases local species only carry a mild sting, they can be dangerous in larger groups. Earlier in the summer, there were reports that lion’s mane jellyfish had been spotted in Hythe - a specie considered to have the most powerful sting in Britain.

If you do get stung by a jellyfish, Mr Lightwing said: "You should leave the water immediately and keep still.

"Any remaining tentacles should be removed with tweezers whilst wearing gloves.

"If you have difficulty breathing after being stung, you should seek medical attention immediately by calling 999."

The charity also warned that jellyfish can 'give a nasty sting' and should never be handled.

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