In this article we are looking at different types of currents and how they affect the bay of Saundersfoot.
Ocean currents are movements of seawater are mainly caused by the Coriolis effect (a force moving objects to the right in the northern hemisphere and to the left in the southern hemisphere). It’s not to be confused with tides that are mainly caused by the gravitational pull of the Sun and Moon. Depth contours, shoreline configurations, and interactions with other currents influence a current’s direction and strength. Ocean currents flow for great distances, and play a dominant role in determining the climate of many regions by influencing the temperature of the regions through which they travel. For example, warm currents traveling along more temperate coasts increase the temperature of the area by warming the sea breezes that blow over them. Perhaps the most striking example is the Gulf Stream, which makes northwest Europe much more temperate than any other region at the same latitude.
Surface oceanic currents are sometimes wind driven and develop their typical clockwise spirals in the northern hemisphere and counter-clockwise rotation in the southern hemisphere due to imposed wind stresses.
Currents in the area around Saundersfoot are usually no more than 1 knot. The biggest danger in the bay of Saundersfoot is the wind. You can experience stronger surface currents during south-westerly winds which can blow you from Saundersfoot towards Wisemans bridge.
There are also rip currents; a strong surface current flowing off shore. Rips are usually caused by waves and can be dangerous because they are not notable to most people who go swimming in the bay. They are the nice and calm area away from the waves. If you see an area with dirty water and waves breaking on either side of the calm looking area then there is a high chance that there is a rip.
We don’t often get rips in Saundersfoot but if you do get caught in a rip or a current it is important to stay with your board and paddle and not to paddle against the stream but across it. It is important to have a buoyancy aid on you and a leash attached to your board. You can find more information about rip currents in the video below.
Note that it is important to seek experienced guidance before going for a paddle in Saundersfoot if you are unsure about the risks involved. It is always best to ask advice from the RNLI that are based on the Harbor side of the beach or come by the paddleboard school and we can provide you with the information you need to have a safe paddle in the area.