Respect the sea – Hartlepool folk urged to stay safe after 31 deaths

Hartlepool's Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat
Hartlepool's Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat

People are being urged to respect the sea as the RNLI launches its annual summer safety campaign.

The lifeboat charity, which has a station in Hartlepool, is warning people of the dangers of the coast as new figures reveal 31 people died around the north England coasts last year.

The water might look inviting, but it can be dangerously unpredictable

Volunteer crews also saved the lives of another 89 people in near misses.

The RNLI is releasing two hard-hitting films, to be screened in cinemas from tomorrow as part of this year’s Respect the Water campaign. It aims to halve the number of coastal deaths by 2024.

The safety message is directed particularly at men as figures show they are far more prone to get into danger at the coast, accounting for over two thirds of deaths last year.

Michael Avril, Community Incident Reduction Manager for the north, said: “We’re warning people that if they’re going near the water, whatever their activity, they could be at risk and they need to take care. Unexpected dangers like slippery rocks, sudden waves or unstable ground can catch anyone out.”

Hartlepool RNLI has two lifeboats and was called out six times in June and twice so far this month.

Slips and falls caused 38 deaths last year. The RNLI says people need to be aware of the dangers of cold water and rip currents.

Michael added: “The water might look inviting, but it can be dangerously unpredictable, with hazards which can be fatal if not respected. Currents under the surface can overwhelm even the strongest swimmers.”