The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) is urging the public to take extra care if they visit the North West coast during half-term – to keep everyone safe.
With Covid-19 cases on the rise and different lockdown restrictions in force throughout the UK and Ireland – along with extended school holidays in some regions – the lifesaving charity is calling for people to act responsibly at the coast to protect themselves, their loved ones and front line emergency services.
Getting cut off by the tide is a common cause of rescue off the North West coast so the lifesaving charity is encouraging people to always check the weather and tides before setting off.
RNLI Water Safety Lead Chris Cousens said: ‘Our volunteer lifeboat crews have remained on call 24/7 throughout the pandemic. RNLI lifeguards also continue to patrol Crosby beach 365 days a year.
“We would urge everyone to follow the latest government advice and lockdown restrictions in their area but for those who are at the coast, please act responsibly. That way you are not just protecting yourself and loved ones but also, not putting our lifeboat crews and lifeguards at unnecessary risk.
“We expect that many more people than normal at this time of year will be staying in the UK during the school holidays. And if you are at the coast please do all you can to stay safe – whether walking the dog along coastal paths, paddleboarding or swimming in the sea.
‘”Whether you intend to be in the water or not, cold water shock is a very real threat, no matter how experienced you are.
“If you do need help or spot anyone else in danger please call 999 or 112 and ask for the Coastguard.”
The RNLI’s key coastal safety advice is:
- Have a plan – check the weather forecast, tide times, read local hazard signage and let someone know where you are going and when you intend to be back
- Keep a close eye on your family and keep dogs on a lead near the edge of cliffs
- If walking or running be aware that coastal paths, promenades and piers may be slippery or prone to waves breaking over them
- If you fall into the water unexpectedly, FLOAT TO LIVE. Fight your instinct to thrash around, lean back, extend your arms and legs, and float
- In an emergency dial 999, and ask for the Coastguard
For details of which beaches still have RNLI lifeguard patrols, go to https://rnli.org/find-my-nearest/lifeguarded-beaches