Seaside safety advice

Lifeboat crew members start to run out a rope between the two boats to stop the runaway rib. Picture by TOM COLLINS. D23623
Lifeboat crew members start to run out a rope between the two boats to stop the runaway rib. Picture by TOM COLLINS. D23623

A CHARITY is urging people to stay safe when visiting the seaside this summer.

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) is encouraging people to make safety a priority when planning a trip to the beach.

Last year nationally, the RNLI responded to 16,664 incidents, helped 18,779 people and saved 107 lives.

Hartlepool’s crews had a busy year, with around 100 call-outs from their Ferry Road base.

Ross Macleod, RNLI Beach Safety Programme Manager, said: “Our research suggests the most popular reasons for beach choice are: visited before (36 per cent), proximity (23 per cent), clean sea/beach (20 per cent), good surf (15 per cent) and regular choice (10 per cent).

“Only four per cent of people cited lifeguard presence as an important factor when choosing a beach.”

The RNLI suggested that people remember a few beach safety tips when going to the seaside:

l Swim at a lifeguarded beach, between the red and yellow flags;

l Never use inflatables in strong winds or rough seas;

l Check tide times before you go;

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

l If you see someone else in trouble, don’t attempt to rescue them yourself. Call 999 or 112 and ask for the Coastguard.

Additional safety points for beaches without lifeguards are:

l Find out about your chosen beach before you go, at www.goodbeachguide.co.uk;

l Check weather and tides before you go;

l Read safety signs at the beach entrance to make yourself aware of any local hazards.

Ross added: “By following these basic recommendations, we hope people will have a great time and stay safe.”

The RNLI has two beach safety guides available free of charge from beachsafety@rnli.org.uk or by calling 0800 328 0600.

Further information on beach safety is also available at www.rnli.org.uk/beachsafety.