RNLI lifeguards urge public to stay safe at the beach during the hot weather

Lifeguards News Release

With the south west still enjoying high temperatures for the next few days, many people are likely to head to the coast to enjoy the warm weather. The RNLI is urging people to stay safe and head to a lifeguarded beach.

RNLI/Nigel Millard

The RNLI urges visitors to check that the beach they are hoping to visit is lifeguarded, as they provide much greater safety for sunbathers, swimmers and water sports enthusiasts. The RNLI patrols over 100 beaches in the South West.

The RNLI suggests those planning on going to the beach should check local information in advance. Before setting out, beach-goers are advised to check tide times, weather conditions and read local safety signs. If in doubt, ask a lifeguard for any information needed.

Steve Instance, RNLI Community Safety Partner, said:

‘We have already dealt with a number of incidents around the region’s coast including capsized kayakers, stand up paddle boarders, people cut off by the tide and swimmers getting caught in rip currents.

Swimmers should ensure that they swim between the red and yellow flags as these mark out the safest area to swim and are patrolled by lifeguards. Surf-sport enthusiasts should always tell someone where you're going and when you'll be back. Always bring a means of calling for help, preferably a waterproof DSC VHF, a Personal Locator Beacon or a tracker. A fully charged mobile phone, easily accessible to you in a waterproof pouch, is the bear minimum means we would recommend as you could easily be out of coverage around the coast. Check the weather forecast and tide times before you set out - they can change quickly. Wear a personal flotation device and suitable clothing. Get the appropriate level of training, and always make sure you launch and recover between the black and white chequered flags on a beach.

We want everyone to enjoy spending time at the beach but by highlighting the dangers before visitors arrive and reminding visitors to respect the water, it is hoped that any potential danger can be avoided and everyone can enjoy their time at the coast safely.’

The RNLI has recently launched their Respect the Water campaign encouraging swimmers to remember that, whilst the weather may be warm, sea temperatures are still very cold.

The average sea temperature is only around 12-15⁰C which is cold enough to cause cold water shock. Cold water shock makes you gasp uncontrollably and breathe in water, which can potentially lead to drowning. To fight against the effects of cold water shock, the RNLI advises that you control your instinct to swim, pause and float on your back until you are able to catch your breath; doing this can save your life.

To find your nearest lifeguarded beach, please visit: https://rnli.org/find-my-nearest/lifeguarded-beaches

If you see someone in trouble, alert the lifeguards or call 999 (or 112) and ask for the Coastguard. Do not enter the water yourself.

To find out how you can stay safe while enjoying your water activity, visit RespectTheWater.com

Notes to editors

  • For interview requests, contact Amy or Emma below
  • In 2017, RNLI lifeguards across the south west dealt with 7,982 incidents, assisting 10,080 people

RNLI media contacts

For more information contact Amy Caldwell, RNLI Regional Media Manager on 07920818807 or amy_caldwell@rnli.org.uk or Emma Haines, RNLI Regional Media Officer on 07786 668847 or emma_haines@rnli.org.uk or the RNLI Press Office on 01202 336789.

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.

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Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries

Members of the public may contact the RNLI on 0300 300 9990 (UK) or 1800 991802 (Ireland) or by email.