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 firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 0800 328 0600.
Further information on beach safety is also available at www.rnli.org.uk/beachsafety.