View as PDF

Respect the water as bad weather is set to return

Lifeboats News Release

The RNLI is urging people to stay safe at the coast and respect the water during the rough weather forecast for the next few days.

Wave breaking over sea wall at Holyhead, 2010

RNLI/Ian Thomas

Wave breaking over sea wall at Holyhead, 2010

With bad weather predicted, the advice is to stay away from the water during the storms, give waves a wide berth, and be aware that unexpected big waves can easily catch people out. Even if it looks calm, waves and tides can catch you out.

The charity is advising that if you find yourself in the water unexpectedly, to relax and float on your back to catch your breath and try to grab hold of something to keep you afloat. The initial shock of being in cold water can cause you to gasp and panic but these initial effects pass in less than a minute, so don’t try to swim straight away. Keep calm and catch your breath, then call for help, or swim for safety if you’re able to.

If you see someone else in danger in the water, call 999 and ask for the Coastguard. If you have something that floats or that they can hold on to, throw it to them. Don’t go in the water yourself – too many people drown trying to save others.

Every year, around 190 people lose their lives around the coast of Britain and Ireland. Over half of those who die didn’t plan to enter the water, with slips, trips and falls being a major factor.

Gareth Morrison, Lifesaving Manager for the RNLI, says ‘The water can be unpredictable at the best of times, but it is particularly dangerous during bad weather. We are urging everyone to respect the water and to keep safe during the upcoming rough weather and would remind people not to underestimate the distance waves can travel up the beach or harbour wall. Although it can be tempting to get close, it isn’t worth risking your life to take photos or to dodge waves.

‘If you plan on going out walking after the storm, be wary. Storms change our landscape through coastal erosion so pay attention to warning signs, and don’t leave designated paths to look over the edge of clifftops.’

Paul Gundersen, Chief Meteorologist for the Met Office, says: ‘From today we will see a change in the weather affecting most of the UK with a spell of wet and windy conditions through to the middle of next week. Although different to what we have experienced over the past few weeks it is currently not expected to be any more than usual winter weather. The weather systems are still developing and the forecast could change so it’s best to keep up to date with the latest weather forecast and warnings. At this moment in time, we have not named any of the low pressure systems heading our way over the next few days.’

The RNLI is pleased that MET Office staff chose the RNLI as its official charity partner in August 2015.

Notes to Editors

· RNLI spokespeople are available on request.

· Respect the Water is the RNLI’s national drowning prevention campaign, which forms part of the charity’s work to halve the number of accidental coastal drownings by 2024. For more information, please visit

Media Contacts

For more information, please contact Jennifer Clough, RNLI Press Officer, on 01202 336194 or 07393 763780 or by email at

Key facts about the RNLI

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution is the charity that saves lives at sea. Our volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service in the United Kingdom and Ireland from 238 lifeboat stations, including four along the River Thames and inland lifeboat stations at Loch Ness, Lough Derg, Enniskillen, Carrybridge and Lough Ree. Additionally the RNLI has more than 1,000 lifeguards on over 240 beaches around the UK and operates a specialist flood rescue team, which can respond anywhere across the UK and Ireland when inland flooding puts lives at risk.

The RNLI relies on public donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. As a charity it is separate from, but works alongside, government-controlled and funded coastguard services. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824 our lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved at least 140,000 lives. Volunteers make up 95% of the charity, including 4,600 volunteer lifeboat crew members and 3,000 volunteer shore crew. Additionally, tens of thousands of other dedicated volunteers raise funds and awareness, give safety advice, and help in our museums, shops and offices.

Learn more about the RNLI

For more information please visit the RNLI website or Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. News releases, videos and photos are available on the News Centre.

Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries

Members of the public may contact the RNLI on 0300 300 9990 or by email.


The RNLI is a charity registered in England and Wales (209603) and Scotland (SC037736). Charity number 20003326 in the Republic of Ireland