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Your watch: Stay safe at the seaside

With changes in guidance on exercise and travel, please follow the safety advice that will protect you, your loved ones, and the lifesavers

Aerial view of a busy beach

Nigel Millard

Following changes in Government guidance, it might be that you’re considering heading to the sea.

Please be aware that there are currently no RNLI lifeguards on beaches in the UK. Although our volunteer lifeboat crews are fully operational if needed, this is your watch too. Follow safety advice to protect yourself and your loved ones – and you’ll help to reduce the demands placed on our lifeboat crews and other emergency services.

  • Take care near cliffs - know your route and your limitations

  • Have a plan - check the weather forecast and tide times

  • If you fall into the water unexpectedly, FLOAT TO LIVE. Fight your instinct to thrash around, lean back, extend your arms and legs, and Float

  • If boating, ensure your equipment is functioning and maintained

  • In any coastal emergency dial 999 or 112 and ask for the Coastguard

The RNLI normally patrols over 240 beaches around the coast. But rollout of the normal seasonal lifeguard service was paused at the end of March due to the measures put in place by the UK Government to control the spread of Coronavirus.

The charity is currently working with local authorities and beach owners in the hope that it can provide a lifeguard service on around 30% of the beaches the charity usually covers this summer. Re-establishing this infrastructure and distributing equipment to beaches will take time. We must also make sure that conditions are safe for our lifeguards to provide an effective service – our priority remains to be the safety of our people and the public.

This is our watch

Our lifeboat crews are still ready to launch 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Find out how you can help power them to the rescue.