Beachgoers ignore warning on water safety

As storms and heavy wind lashed the nation's beaches, Eid revellers appeared largely to have ignored official warnings to stay away from the sea.

Despite predictions that waves of up to three metres were likely to hit the coast yesterday and today, and a warning from the National Centre for Meteorology and Seismology yesterday not to venture out to sea, many people carried on regardless.

"Weather conditions are unstable," said a spokesperson for the centre. "There will be possible rain over most of the UAE, in some areas normal, and in other parts it will be heavy."

Dalma Island received the heaviest rain yesterday - more than 40mm, enough to cause flooding in some areas.

Yesterday morning, drizzling rain was recorded over several areas in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Fujairah and Ras Al Khaimah.

The rain is expected to spread over other parts of the country in the next couple of days. It was still unclear which areas would be worst hit.

Still, the sky was clear over the packed beaches of Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

Umm Khalid, from Jordan, one of the estimated 5,000 people at Abu Dhabi's Corniche beach yesterday afternoon, was unaware of any warning. "We woke up and came here, where would we have heard this?" she said. "If we see any danger, any rain, we will leave."

Many others took the same approach, with even the lifeguards saying swimmers had nothing to worry about, thanks to the beach's wave breakers.

"Every morning and every evening we check for weather updates, and we coordinate with police and coastguard," the lifeguard supervisor at the corniche said. "If the visibility is poor, then we close the beach."

He said their "guard was up", but there was no high tide danger at the beach.

"The real danger is at the unsupervised beaches," he said, adding that the biggest problem yesterday was litter washing up from the previous day's celebrations at nearby, unsupervised shores.

Barasti beach in Dubai was also packed, with a green flag indicating conditions were safe. Lifeguards scanned the waters for swimmers in distress.

One there said he was unaware of any warning, adding that the beach was shielded by The Palm Jumeirah island.

"Out in the open sea waves can reach three or four metres in height but we don't see those here because ours is a closed beach," he said. "The waves are blocked from reaching here by The Palm so it's safe. But at the beaches on the open sea there are some waves."

Magdy Hilal, 36, an Egyptian engineer, sat at the Jumeirah Public Beach with his wife Farida, grilling meat as their children aged eight and six swam nearby.

"I'm not worried," said Mr Hilal. "The kids won't go further than their feet can reach and if they do, my wife and I are here to call them in. It's very safe here.

"If you compare the waves that we get in Agami [near Alexandria in Egypt] to those here, the waves here are nothing. My kids have been in worse."

Many people had to abandon picnics late in the afternoon as winds blew at speeds of up to 35km/h.

At the seashore, some swimmers were unsupervised along Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed road on Yas Island.

The Roads and Transport Authority's ferry service was also operating as normal. The skipper on a ferry docked at Dubai Marina said that after analysing the conditions, it had been decided that it was safe for the ferries to head out to open sea, taking tourists around the Palm Jumeirah.

At the Dubai Marina Yacht Club, boaters were allowed out despite the warnings. "There is a warning in effect, but some boats went out despite it," the receptionist at the club said. "The Coast Guard is allowing boats out but at their own risk."

Kirk Marks, managing director of the Dubai-based aquatic education and services company, Australian International Sports Services, said officials were right to be vigilant.

"With increased wind and wave action, there is stronger danger for example of rip currents, which the majority of people are unfamiliar with," said Mr Marks. "Rip currents are a global natural phenomena and run along the shoreline up to five meters in, and can suddenly pull people into deep water."

He also said the age group most at risk internationally was young men. "In Australia for example, that group accounts for the highest water related deaths which includes boating, fishing and jet ski's. Some want to show off and that is when horrendous accidents can occur," said Mr Marks.

Brigadier Mohammed Al Kaabi, the Fujairah police chief, said police were ready for any rain-related accidents. He warned against swimming in flood-ponds, or sitting in valleys during heavy rainfall. Families need to keep an eye on their children, he said.

Most F1 world titles

7 — Michael Schumacher (1994, ’95, 2000, ’01 ’02, ’03, ’04)

7 — Lewis Hamilton (2008, ’14,’15, ’17, ’18, ’19, ’20)

5 — Juan Manuel Fangio (1951, ’54, ’55, ’56, ’57)

4 — Alain Prost (1985, ’86, ’89, ’93)

4 — Sebastian Vettel (2010, ’11, ’12, ’13)

57 Seconds

Director: Rusty Cundieff
Stars: Josh Hutcherson, Morgan Freeman, Greg Germann, Lovie Simone
Rating: 2/5

The Kitchen

Director: Daniel Kaluuya, Kibwe Tavares

Stars: Kane Robinson, Jedaiah Bannerman, Hope Ikpoku Jnr, Fiona Marr

Rating: 3/5 

Aayan’s records

Youngest UAE men’s cricketer
When he debuted against Bangladesh aged 16 years and 314 days, he became the youngest ever to play for the men’s senior team. He broke the record set by his World Cup squad-mate, Alishan Sharafu, of 17 years and 44 days.

Youngest wicket-taker
After taking the wicket of Bangladesh’s Litton Das on debut in Dubai, Aayan became the youngest male cricketer to take a wicket against a Full Member nation in a T20 international.

Youngest in T20 World Cup history?
Aayan does not turn 17 until November 15 – which is two days after the T20 World Cup final at the MCG. If he does play in the competition, he will be its youngest ever player. Pakistan’s Mohammed Amir, who was 17 years and 55 days when he played in 2009, currently holds the record.

The Genius of Their Age

Author: S Frederick Starr
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Pages: 290
Available: January 24


5pm: Conditions (PA) Dh80,000 1,400m | Winner: AF Tahoonah, Richard Mullen (jockey), Ernst Oertel (trainer)

5.30pm: Handicap (TB) Dh90,000 1,400m | Winner: Ajwad, Gerald Avranche, Rashed Bouresly

6pm: Maiden (PA) Dh80,000 1,600m | Winner: RB Lam Tara, Fabrice Veron, Eric Lemartinel

6.30pm: Handicap (PA) Dh80,000 1,600m | Winner: Duc De Faust, Szczepan Mazur, Younis Al Kalbani

7pm: Wathba Stallions Cup (PA) Dh70,000 2,200m | Winner: Shareef KB, Fabrice Veron, Ernst Oertel

7.30pm: Handicap (PA) Dh90,000 1,500m | Winner: Bainoona, Pat Cosgrave, Eric Lemartinel

The Specs

Engine: 1.6-litre 4-cylinder petrol
Power: 118hp
Torque: 149Nm
Transmission: Six-speed automatic
Price: From Dh61,500
On sale: Now

Company Profile

Name: Direct Debit System
Started: Sept 2017
Based: UAE with a subsidiary in the UK
Industry: FinTech
Funding: Undisclosed
Investors: Elaine Jones
Number of employees: 8

The Details

Article 15
Produced by: Carnival Cinemas, Zee Studios
Directed by: Anubhav Sinha
Starring: Ayushmann Khurrana, Kumud Mishra, Manoj Pahwa, Sayani Gupta, Zeeshan Ayyub
Our rating: 4/5 

If you go

The flights
Emirates and Etihad fly direct to Nairobi, with fares starting from Dh1,695. The resort can be reached from Nairobi via a 35-minute flight from Wilson Airport or Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, or by road, which takes at least three hours.

The rooms
Rooms at Fairmont Mount Kenya range from Dh1,870 per night for a deluxe room to Dh11,000 per night for the William Holden Cottage.

The years Ramadan fell in May





Five calorie-packed Ramadan drinks

Rooh Afza
100ml contains 414 calories
Tang orange drink
100ml serving contains 300 calories
Carob beverage mix
100ml serving contains about 300 calories
Qamar Al Din apricot drink
100ml saving contains 61 calories
Vimto fruit squash
100ml serving contains 30 calories


Director: Nikhil Nagesh Bhat

Starring: Lakshya, Tanya Maniktala, Ashish Vidyarthi, Harsh Chhaya, Raghav Juyal

Rating: 4.5/5

If you go

The flights 

Emirates flies from Dubai to Funchal via Lisbon, with a connecting flight with Air Portugal. Economy class returns cost from Dh3,845 return including taxes.

The trip

The WalkMe app can be downloaded from the usual sources. If you don’t fancy doing the trip yourself, then Explore  offers an eight-day levada trails tour from Dh3,050, not including flights.

The hotel

There isn’t another hotel anywhere in Madeira that matches the history and luxury of the Belmond Reid's Palace in Funchal. Doubles from Dh1,400 per night including taxes.



Need to know

Unlike other mobile wallets and payment apps, a unique feature of eWallet is that there is no need to have a bank account, credit or debit card to do digital payments.

Customers only need a valid Emirates ID and a working UAE mobile number to register for eWallet account.

Company Profile

Company name: Hoopla
Date started: March 2023
Founder: Jacqueline Perrottet
Based: Dubai
Number of staff: 10
Investment stage: Pre-seed
Investment required: $500,000


Starring: Lupita Nyong'o, Joseph Quinn, Djimon Hounsou

Director: Michael Sarnoski

Rating: 4/5

It's Monty Python's Crashing Rocket Circus

To the theme tune of the famous zany British comedy TV show, SpaceX has shown exactly what can go wrong when you try to land a rocket.

The two minute video posted on YouTube is a compilation of crashes and explosion as the company, created by billionaire Elon Musk, refined the technique of reusable space flight.

SpaceX is able to land its rockets on land once they have completed the first stage of their mission, and is able to resuse them multiple times - a first for space flight.

But as the video, How Not to Land an Orbital Rocket Booster, demonstrates, it was a case if you fail, try and try again.

Most Read
Top Videos

The UAE Today

The latest news and analysis from the Emirates

      By signing up, I agree to The National's privacy policy
      The UAE Today