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RNLI Finish For The Season

RNLI Finish For The Season

Published by the Yorkshire Coast Radio News Team at 2:02pm 6th September 2010.

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) volunteer lifeboat crews and lifeguards are reminding people to think safety when visiting the coast.

They have just finished their season and are reminding people of the imporance of remaining safe.

The lifeguards patrol 150 of the UK's busiest beaches.

Last year, RNLI volunteer crews launched 162 times over the long weekend, rescuing 167 people, while RNLI lifeguards responded to 424 incidents and helped 458 people on the beach. Over the past three years on August bank holidays, the RNLI's volunteer crews have launched 688 times and rescued 759 people, and the charity's lifeguards have responded to 1,978 incidents and helped 2,529 people.*

Beach safety

Recent RNLI research** found that very few people prioritise safety when choosing a beach. Instead, it found most people choose a beach based on whether they have been before, its cleanliness, proximity, surf, or simply because they go there regularly. This, coupled with the RNLI's incident statistics, is prompting the charity to remind people of the importance of safety, particularly over the busy bank holiday.

Steve Wills, RNLI Beach Safety Manager, says: 'The beach can be a dangerous environment, as the tragedy at Whitby on Wednesday shows. Rip currents can quickly drag people out to sea, beyond their depth. If you get caught in a rip, try to stay calm, and wave your arm in the air to signal for help. If you feel you can swim, it's best to swim parallel to the beach until free of the current, and then head for shore.

'We encourage anyone visiting the beach, particularly those using the water, to choose a lifeguarded beach, swim between the red and yellow flags, and follow the lifeguards' advice. If people can't get to a lifeguarded beach, they should find out about their chosen beach beforehand, check the weather and tides, and read safety signs at the beach entrance.

'Anyone who starts to struggle in the water should wave their hand in the air and shout for help. If you see someone else in trouble, find a lifeguard. If you can't see a lifeguard, call 999 or 112 and ask for the Coastguard but don't attempt a rescue yourself as you may also end up in difficulty.

'We know people want to enjoy their time at the beach, so we're providing some basic advice to help them have fun safely. There have been several serious incidents around the coast already this summer, so we hope people will take notice of the safety tips we're offering.'

Top RNLI beach safety tips:

1.    Always swim at a lifeguarded beach, between the red and yellow flags
2.    Never use inflatables in strong winds or rough seas
3.    Check times of high and low tide before you go - to avoid getting stranded
4.    If you get into trouble, stick your hand in the air and shout for help
5.    If you see someone else in trouble, tell a lifeguard. If you can't see a lifeguard, call 999 or 112 and ask for the Coastguard

For more information, visit www.rnli.org.uk/beachsafety
Sea safety

RNLI Sea Safety Training Manager, says: 'Our advice is not meant to spoil the fun of water users, but breaking down at sea can be a stressful experience and, at best, ruin your day.

So we always recommend that those going boating or enjoying other watersports activities make sure they follow our sea safety tips. In particular, we advise that all who go afloat wear a well-fitted lifejacket and know how to operate it should an emergency situation unfold, because a lifejacket is useless unless worn, if it is worn incorrectly or if it is not in full working order.'

Top RNLI sea safety tips:

1.    A lifejacket is useless unless worn - make sure you fit yours correctly
2.    Get some training - know how to handle your boat and be confident in your own abilities
3.    Check your engine and carry spares
4.    Check the weather and tides before going afloat
5.    Carry a means of calling for help like a VHF radio or flares
6.    Tell others where you're going and when you expect to be back
For more information, visit www.rnli.org.uk/seasafety.

The RNLI's advice aims to help prevent incidents from happening in the first place but, should anyone find themselves in trouble in the water, the RNLI's volunteer crews and lifeguards will be ready to respond.

* RNLI rescue statistics 2007-2009. August bank holiday figures cover Friday to Monday inclusive.

** Prescient research conducted on behalf of the RNLI, 2009.
Notes to editors

 

 

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