How to escape a rip current: RNLI urges beachgoers to take extra care this bank holiday

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With the Bank Holiday weekend upon us, the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) is calling on anyone planning to visit the coast to put safety first and take heed of the charity’s advice.

Following the tragic incidents this week, which resulted in the deaths of a group of swimmers, the charity is urging everyone to take extra care by the coast.

Steve Instance, RNLI Senior Lifeguard Manager, says: “Conditions can change quickly at the beach, so it is really important to respect the water and take extra care when visiting the coast.

“If you want to swim or bathe in the sea we would advise you do so at a lifeguarded beach. The red and yellow flags indicate the safest areas to swim and lifeguards keep watch over this area, so if you do get into difficulty raise your arm and call for help.

“RNLI lifeguards are always happy to answer any questions or advise of any risks, including where any rip currents may be, which can catch out even the most experienced swimmers.

“Check tide times, tide height and weather conditions for the day. If you intend to take part in activities on the water, such as kayaking, always wear a floatation device and carry a means of communication so you can raise the alarm if you find yourself in trouble.

“If you spot anyone in difficulty at the coast ring 999 and ask for the Coastguard.”

This weekend extra teams will be in place at various locations around the coast to provide safety advice to help keep members of the public safe.

What to do if you get caught in a rip current:

• Stay calm – don’t panic

• If you can stand, wade don’t swim

• Keep hold of your board or inflatable to help you float

• Raise your hand and shout for help

• Never try to swim directly against the rip or you’ll get exhausted

• Swim parallel to the beach until free of the rip, then make for shore