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New Year bathers brave 9°C North Sea in Ostend
Almost 5,000 people braved the 9°C water and took a New Year's dip in the North Sea at Ostend on Saturday afternoon.
Extra safety measures were implemented this year because of strong winds and waves. Participants were told not to go any deeper than waist level, and they were limited to 20 minutes instead of the usual half hour.
The sea was relatively warm compared with previous years - it has been as low as 4°C in the past.
Similar New Year's dips took place this weekend in Bredene and Wenduine on the Belgian coast.
Photo: Kurt Desplenter/Belga