Hull KR star backs RNLI safety campaign and urges fans to Respect the Water
Hull KR star Shaun Lunt is backing an RNLI campaign which aims to halve accidental coastal deaths.
Before and during the game, the RNLI will also be sharing vital safety information from its Respect the Water safety campaign. Shaun, who visited Humber Lifeboat Station recently to meet the RNLI crew, is keen for fans to listen to the safety messages.
He said: ‘I’m a keen angler and enjoy visiting the coast, so I know just how unpredictable and dangerous the sea can be. Even so, I was amazed to learn that around half the people who accidentally die at the coast each year never actually intended to enter the water. They might have slipped while walking or running, or been swept in by an unexpected wave.
‘When I spoke to the lifeboat crew, they told me about some of the tragic incidents they have to deal with. It’s so sad that not everyone who gets into difficulty in the sea can be saved by the RNLI, but many of those incidents could have been prevented in the first place if people had been more aware of the dangers and how to keep themselves safe at the coast.’
Around 190 people die each year at the coasts of the UK and Ireland and more than three quarters of them are adult males. For this reason, the Respect the Water campaign targets men, although the safety advice is relevant to everyone. The RNLI is aiming to halve the number of coastal deaths by 2024 and, through the campaign, is renewing warnings about the dangers of cold water, slips and falls, rip currents and waves.
Dave Steenvoorden, Humber RNLI Coxswain, said the support of Shaun and the club will make a big difference to the RNLI’s Respect the Water campaign.
He added: ‘Lifeboat crews have to deal with some awful things, and the very worst for us are those call outs when we can’t save someone’s life, despite our very best efforts. We want everyone to treat the water with respect – an average of 24 lives are lost around the north of England coast each year and the real tragedy is that many of those deaths could have been prevented.
‘Cold water is a real killer. People don’t always realise how cold our seas can be – even in summer, the sea temperature is rarely above 12oc, which is low enough to trigger cold water shock. If you enter the water suddenly at that temperature, you’ll start gasping uncontrollably, which can draw water into your lungs and cause drowning. The cold also numbs you, leaving you helpless and unable to swim or shout for help.
‘We know that many of the people who die at the coast each year never planned to enter the water, and that suggests people are not always taking enough care along the coastline itself. We’re warning people to stay away from cliff edges, particularly where there is slippery, unstable or uneven ground, stick to marked paths and keep an eye on the water – watch out for unexpected waves which could sweep you into the water.
‘And if you are planning to get into the water, even if it looks calm on the surface, there could be strong rip currents underneath which can quickly drag you out to sea. The sea is powerful and can catch out even the strongest and most experienced swimmers.’
UK-wide, the number of lives lost at the coast reached a five-year high last year, with 168 lives lost. The Respect the Water campaign will run throughout the summer on channels including cinema, outdoor, radio, online, and, for the first time, on catch-up TV channels. Respect the Water films will be shown at the Hull KR V Leeds Rhinos match on Thursday 21 July.
Visit www.RNLI.org/RespectTheWater for information on how to stay safe at the coast.
Notes to Editors
1. Hull KR player Shaun Lunt, wearing the RNLI charity shirt, urges people to Respect the Water. Credit Hull KR.
2. RNLI Respect the Water logo.
RNLI media contacts
For more information, contact Alison Levett, RNLI Public Relations Manager North, on 07786 668912 / Alison_Levett@rnli.org.uk or Clare Hopps, RNLI Press Officer North, on 07824 518641 / Clare_Hopps@rnli.org.uk.
Key facts about the RNLI
The RNLI charity saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service around the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland coasts. The RNLI operates over 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and, in a normal year, more than 240 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK and Channel Islands. The RNLI is independent of Coastguard and government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824, its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved over 142,700 lives.