With forecasters predicting a heat wave and the school summer holidays approaching, the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) is calling on anyone planning to visit a beach to stay safe while they enjoy the sunshine.
Good weather inevitably means more people heading to the seaside so the RNL have issued a message of caution, urging beach-goers – particularly those planning to use the water to put the safety of themselves and their families first, by following five beach key 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.
Last year, RNLI lifeguards responded to 14,523 incidents, helped 16,418 people and
saved 115 lives on some of the UK’s busiest beaches.
Pip Hare, RNLI Coastal Safety Manager, said: ‘With the school holidays about to start 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.
‘It’s also really important to protect yourself from the sun. We recommend people remember ‘slip, slap, slop – slip on a T-shirt, Slap on a hat and slop on some suncream. Drinking plenty of fluid is also vital as the sun and wind can easily dehydrate you.’
In an innovative approach to saving lives, the charity has created a free ‘beach finder’ mobile app to help people find their nearest lifeguarded beach, see real-time weather information and even enter the RNLI’s fun sandcastle competition from whichever beach they’re on. The RNLI Beach Finder app can be downloaded from www.rnli.org/beach.
The RNLI have also worked with the MET Office to produce a video about staying safe on the beach.
The RNLI’s guide to beach safety, On The Beach, is packed full of advice on how to stay safe at the beach. It is available free-of-charge by emailing email@example.com or calling 0800 328 0600. Further practical advice and tips on how to stay safe can be found at www.rnli.org/beach.