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Water safety warning as North West enters lockdown

Workington RNLI

The RNLI is urging anyone who is able to visit the coast during lockdown, to not take any unnecessary risks that may put extra pressure on emergency services.

As England enters its third nationwide lockdown, RNLI lifeboats will continue to launch.

But, the charity said, every time a lifeboat crew is called to an incident, it puts additional pressure on its volunteers and other frontline emergency services, as well as potentially exposing them to COVID-19.

The charity is asking the public to follow government guidelines and think carefully if they live close to the coast.

Chris Cousens, RNLI water safety lead for the North West, said “During lockdown, RNLI lifeboats and stations remain operational and will launch around the clock where there is risk to life.

‘We would encourage everyone to follow the latest government guidelines on what they are able to do and where they are able to go during lockdown, but for anyone visiting a coastal area please understand the risks to be as safe as possible and not put unnecessary strain on front line services.

“No one ever heads to the coast with the expectation of needing to be rescued yet rescues are occurring every day.

“In a normal year around 150 people lose their lives at the coast and we know that more than half of those never intended to be in the water.

“So, whether you are walking, running or cycling at the coast, or doing some activity on or in the water, please be extra responsible and avoid taking unnecessary risks.”

The RNLI’s key water safety advice is:

  • Take care if walking near cliffs – know your route and keep dogs on a lead
  • Check tide times daily
  • Take a full-charged phone
  • If going afloat, always wear a lifejacket or other personal flotation device and take a means of calling for help
  • Check your equipment is in good working order
  • Be aware of the conditions and your capabilities and only enter the water if it is safe to do so
  • In an emergency call 999 or 112 and ask for the Coastguard
  • Additional safety advice is at www.rnli.org/safety