The Hong Kong Observatory is very concerned about recent accidents in which people were swept away by sea waves. The Observatory urges people to take all necessary safety precautions when engaging in activities by the seaside. To address the problem and to raise public awareness on natural disasters, the Observatory has recently published a pamphlet "Dangers of the Sea" to explain the various hazardous natural phenomena associated with the sea and the precautions against them.
Facing the South China Sea, Hong Kong is vulnerable to hazards from the sea. Huge waves are whipped up by high winds associated with tropical cyclones or strong monsoon winds while heavy swells can be produced by tropical cyclones a thousand kilometres away. People who are at the sea or near the shore might get hurt or even lose their lives if they are not careful.
In recent decades, a number of coastal engineering projects have much reduced the risk of coastal inundation and attack by waves on coastal facilities. Timely weather forecast and warnings have also greatly reduced related casualties. Regrettably, because of a general lack of understanding of swells, lives were lost every now and then. The accidents in Ham Tin Wan last week and in Shek O earlier this month in which people were carried away by waves were two sad examples. Understanding the dangers of the sea and taking necessary precautions against them can prevent the recurrence of these unfortunate accidents.
The pamphlet "Dangers of the Sea" is available at the Hong Kong Observatory Resource Centre at :
Units 2304-2309, 23/F Miramar Tower,
132 Nathan Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon
Telephone No. 2926 8250
It is also accessible at the Observatory website at: http://www.weather.gov.hk/publica/gen_pub/sea_e.pdf
The Public Enquiry Services Centres of the Home Affairs Department will also make these pamphlets available to the public in due course.