RNLI urges visitors to the coast to check tide times

Lifeboats News Release

As the nights draw in for winter, the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) is urging people heading to the coast to check the tide times, and to take a means of calling for help with them.

Family walking a long a beach

RNLI/Nathan Williams

Family walking a long a beach

Last year, over half (55%) of people involved in coastal fatalities in 2017 did not intend to go in the water.[1] The charity is offering safety advice for anyone visiting the coast during the winter period. The advice comes as several RNLI lifeboat crews have launched in recent weeks to separate cases of people finding themselves cut off by the tide.

Steve Instance, Community Safety Partner for the RNLI said, ‘The tide can come in surprisingly quickly, and with the days getting shorter and it getting dark earlier we urge you to take care. Before you head to the coast, make sure you check the tide times and plan your trip accordingly to make sure you give yourself enough time to return to safety. Tide times vary throughout the month, and a section of beach that was clear yesterday at 3pm might be completely covered by sea the same time today. This can be particularly treacherous as it gets dark earlier. Make sure you take care when walking in dark and slippery conditions.

‘While you’re at the coast, make sure you’re aware of your surroundings, the state of the tide, and the time the sun sets. Take a means of calling for help with you and keep it within reach. If you do find yourself in trouble or see someone else in difficulty, call 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard.’


[1] Records from the National Water Safety Forum’s Water Incident Database (WAID) 2013–2017. RNLI has analysed the data using GIS software to plot and analyse incidents before inclusion in a specific coastal dataset (accident and natural causes, UK only).


RNLI media contacts

For more information please contact Jennifer Clough RNLI Press Officer at Jennifer_Clough@RNLI.org.uk or telephone the RNLI Press Office on 01202 336789.

Walkers hiking along the coast

RNLI/Nathan Williams

Walkers hiking along the coast

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.