Warm weather here, but caution urged for beachgoers after recent rescues

RNLI lifeguards
RNLI lifeguards

WARM weather is finally here! But with school holidays now upon us and thousands of people heading to our local beaches at Mablethorpe and Sutton on Sea, caution is being urged.

Lifeguards provided by charity the RNLI (Royal National Lifeboat Institution) feature prominently on both the aforementioned beaches, and have already been busy this summer.

Just this week rescues were made off the coast of Sutton on Sea and Mablethorpe.

And the charity is encouraging anyone planning a trip to the beach, particularly families and those with young children, to make safety a priority. Last year, children accounted for nearly two-thirds (61 per cent) of incidents RNLI lifeguards dealt with.

Statistics show that surf sports (including surfing, bodyboarding, kitesurfing and windsurfing), swimming, inflatable toys and coastal walking are consistently among the top activities requiring lifeguard assistance and beach-related lifeboat launches.

Last year, RNLI lifeguards responded to 15,625 incidents, helped 17,671 people and saved 84 lives on some of the UK’s busiest beaches, while the charity’s volunteer lifeboat crews launched to 2,814 beach-related incidents, rescuing 1,300 people and saving 171 lives.

To help people remember their seaside trips for the right reasons, the RNLI is offering the following top five beach safety tips:

1. Swim at a lifeguarded beach, between the red and yellow flags

2. Never use inflatables in strong winds or rough seas

3. Check weather and tide times before you go

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 those who can’t make it to a lifeguarded beach, the charity’s advice is as follows:

1. Find out about your chosen beach before you go at goodbeachguide.co.uk

2. Check weather and tides before you go

3. Read the safety signs at the beach entrance to make yourself aware of specific local hazards

4. If you get into trouble, stick your hand in the air and shout for help

5. If you see someone in trouble, call 999 or 112 and ask for the Coastguard but don’t attempt a rescue yourself

In an innovative approach to saving lives at sea, the charity has launched a new ‘beach finder’ mobile app to make it easy for anyone heading to the seaside find their nearest lifeguarded beach.

The ‘RNLI beach finder’ app locates the user’s position and then lists the nearest lifeguarded beaches, as well as providing important information such as water quality (provided by the Marine Conservation Society); a description of the beach; the lifeguards’ patrol dates and times, and hazard information specific to each beach, such as whether it has big waves, strong winds, tidal cut off points or rip currents. Users can also plan their trip to the beach by typing a postcode or town into the app’s search function to find lifeguarded beaches in that area.

Real-time weather information and a five-day forecast for each location is also included with the app – ideal for anyone wondering whether they’ll need to bring out their suncream or waterproofs!

Ross Macleod, RNLI Beach Safety Programmes Manager, explained: “With the school holidays just starting, and the weather set to get better, it’s likely people will want to make the most of it and head to the beach. The RNLI’s advice is to choose a lifeguarded beach and swim between the red and yellow flags, which is the area most closely monitored by the lifeguards.

“For anyone who can’t get to a lifeguarded beach, there are some straightforward steps they can take to help keep themselves out of danger. They can find out about their chosen beach before they visit, check the weather and tide times, and follow the advice shown on safety signs at the beach entrance.

“By following this basic advice, we hope people will have a great time but stay safe as well.”

The RNLI’s has two beach safety guides which are available free-of-charge.

The first, On The Beach, is aimed at families and is packed full of top tips on how to stay safe at the beach, as well as ideas for games to play on the beach.

The second, In The Surf, includes vital safety and kit information for popular surf sports. Both guides are available from beachsafety@rnli.org.uk or by calling 0800 328 0600.

For more information visit www.rnli.org/beach