RNLI and HM Coastguard expecting a busy summer as they launch this year’s beach safety campaign
The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) and Her Majesty’s (HM) Coastguard have launched a joint beach safety campaign ahead of the May Bank Holiday.
Last summer, RNLI lifeguards recorded more than 15 million visitors across the beaches they were patrolling on and the charity is expecting around 30million this time around.
With continued uncertainty over foreign holidays and international travel, the organisation is predicting this summer will be the busiest ever as Covid restrictions are eased and people choose a ‘staycation’.
In 2020, RNLI lifeguards saved 110 lives, aided 25,172 people – including 1,908 involving bodyboards and 348 with inflatables – responded to 10,687 incidents and made more than 2.2million preventative actions.
Nick Ayers, the RNLI’s regional water safety lead, said: “We are expecting this summer to be the busiest ever for our lifeguards and volunteer lifeboat crews.
“We want people to enjoy the coast but urge everyone to respect the water, think about their own safety and know what to do in an emergency.
“Our main advice is to visit a lifeguarded beach and swim between the red and yellow flags. RNLI lifeguards will be patrolling around 245 beaches this summer to offer advice on how to stay safe and they are also there to help anyone who gets into trouble.
“Coastal areas provide a great opportunity to enjoy fresh air and open space but they can be an unpredictable and dangerous environment, particularly during early summer when air temperatures start warming up but water temperatures remain dangerously cold, increasing the risk of cold water shock.”
Claire Hughes,director of HM Coastguard, said: “2020 was an exceptionally busy year and we’re expecting more people to take their holidays around our wonderful coasts this summer.
“We’re asking everyone to follow a few simple safety tips, so the trip is memorable for all the right reasons.
“Before setting out, take a minute to check the weather, tides and winds to help avoid getting caught out.
“Leave inflatables at home as they are designed for the pool, not open water, where the wind and current can very quickly take you out to sea and into danger.
“Recreational watersports such as paddleboarding are now incredibly popular and we’d encourage everyone to make it a fun rather than frightening experience.
“It pays to prepare and taking a mobile phone in a waterproof pouch when you set out for a paddle will mean you can call for help if needed.
“If you or someone else is in trouble, always call 999 and ask for the Coastguard.”
The key summer safety advice is:
○ Visit a lifeguarded beach and swim between the red and yellow flags
○ If you get into trouble Float to Live – lie on your back and relax, resisting the urge to thrash about
○ Call 999 in an emergency and ask for the Coastguard