RNLI reminds those visiting South West coastline to heed safety advice

Image: RNLI.

Friday 12th July 2019 14:26 BST

With the hot, settled weather set to continue into the start of next week, the RNLI is urging people to take extra care if they are heading to the coast.

The charity advises those planning on going into the water to head to a lifeguarded beach as they provide much greater safety for general beach users, swimmers and water sports enthusiasts. RNLI lifeguards have a wealth of knowledge about the beaches that they patrol and can give advice about local hazards and tide times.

Swimmers and bodyboarders are urged to stay between the red and yellow flags, which is the area most closely monitored by the lifeguards. Inflatables should not be used if the orange windsock is flying or when the wind is blowing offshore as these conditions could drag the inflatable out to sea. Anyone using sea kayak or stand-up paddleboard, should carry a means of calling for help and keep it within reach.

RNLI community safety manager for the South West Steve Instance said: “It has been an extremely busy few weeks for our emergency services including RNLI lifeboat crews and lifeguards, with a number of incidents around our coast, some of which have tragically ended in a death of someone’s loved one.

“Each death is one too many and our hearts go out to those who have been touched by these tragedies.

“With schools breaking up for the summer, and people heading to the coast to enjoy this spell of settled weather, we’d urge everyone planning a day out to the beach or on the water to take note of this vital safety advice.

“While the water temperatures are heating up, it is still cold compared to the air. Entering the water unexpectedly or very quickly can lead to cold water shock.

“The natural reaction to this can be to panic and thrash around, which increases the chances of breathing in water and drowning. In order to stay safe, the RNLI advises people to remember the Float to Live message.”

The charity says following five steps to float could save your life if you find yourself in difficulty in the water:

  1. Fight your instinct to thrash around
  2. Lean back, extend your arms and legs
  3. If you need to, gently move your arms and legs to help you float
  4. Float until you can control your breathing
  5. Only then, call for help or swim to safety

The charity says If you see someone in difficulty, don’t enter the water yourself as you could end up in trouble. Dial 999 or 112 and ask for the Coastguard.

To find your nearest lifeguarded beach, visit: https://rnli.org/find-my-nearest/lifeguarded-beaches

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