Leave the Inflatables in the Pool or on Instagram

Lifeboats News Release

HM Coastguard, RNLI, RoSPA and Trading Standards have come together to ask Scots to leave their inflatable toys in the pool or at home this summer.

RNLI crew Scott McIlravie and Coastguard Coastal Operations Area Commander, Ross Greenhill are in an unusual place today (Calton Hill) Edinburgh to highlight how if you don't expect to find us up here, we don't expect to find inflatables where we belong - on the coast/at sea

RNLI

RNLI crew Scott McIlravie and Coastguard Coastal Operations Area Commander, Ross Greenhill are in an unusual place today (Calton Hill) Edinburgh to highlight how if you don't expect to find us up here, we don't expect to find inflatables where we belong - on the coast/at sea

After a spate of call outs to flamingos, unicorns, puffins and pizza slices in 2018 the organisations are asking the public to be aware of the dangers of inflatables at the coast.

Whilst inflatables may look great on an Instagram feed, the four organisations are reminding people that they belong in pools and not in the sea. HM Coastguard tasked RNLI lifeboats, particularly Kinghorn and Troon, on a number of occasions last summer to reports of people being blown out to sea or to collect wayward giant flamingos.

Speaking about the risk of inflatables, Michael Avril the RNLI’s Community Safety Partner for Scotland says: “We understand the appeal of inflatables, they are prolific on social media, however, they pose a serious risk to life if used at the coast. In Scotland we often experience strong offshore winds and fast tides which can see somebody dragged far out of their depth in a matter of seconds. At this point, people will often panic and abandon their inflatable which leaves them suddenly immersed in very cold water and at a serious risk of drowning. We’d ask the public to please leave the inflatables at home or in a pool this summer, they don’t belong on a beach or in the sea.”

Speaking about HM Coastguard’s reaction to calls about inflatables Ross Greenhill says "Each year HM Coastguard respond to a number of 999 calls reporting inflatable toys being rapidly blown out to sea, often with young children on them. Whilst we want everyone to enjoy our amazing coastline around Scotland, we want you to enjoy it safely. Inflatable toys definitely belong in a swimming pool and not in the sea where they are subject to not just our strong currents but also our ever-changing weather. Leave the inflatables for the pool and enjoy your time on the beach without needing to call for help. If you do see someone in trouble on an inflatable at the beach call 999 and ask for Coastguard. Always remember to check the tide times and the weather forecast when spending time on the coast."

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) spokesperson, Carlene McAvoy, says “We understand that inflatables can be fun, but they cause so many problems for the Coastguard and RNLI lifeboat teams and can put you or your children, and other people, in danger. Please leave them at home – don’t take them to the beach.”

In addition to raising awareness of inflatable safety, RNLI, RoSPA and HMCG are working with SCOTSS to look at the products and standards which relate to inflatables. Over the coming months, it is anticipated that a selection of inflatables will be examined and inspected.

Christopher Bell, Chair of SCOTSS Product Safety Group says “Trading Standards teams throughout Scotland will be undertaking inspections of inflatables during the summer to ensure that they meet the applicable safety standards. All items should be safe, comply with the relevant safety requirements, and contain the relevant warnings and instructions. Cheap imported items, or those which are sold online, may not comply with these requirements, and the retailers may not actually be present in the UK.

We advise that whenever using inflatables, always check the instructions for use, paying attention to any warnings, and that you have checked the product itself for damage or flaws. You should also ensure that you have an identified point of contact as importer or producer within the UK or EU.”

Notes to editors

Representatives from all agencies are available for comment regarding this release, please use the following contact details:

RNLI – Gemma McDonald, Media Manager,07826 900639 gemma_mcdonald@rnli.org.uk

HM Coastguard – Ross Greenhill, Coastal Operations Commander, 020 381 72615 Ross.Greenhill@mcga.gov.uk

RoSPA – Carlene McAvoy, Community Safety Development Manager, 07771 973165 cmcavoy@rospa.com

SCOTSS – Christopher Bell, Chair SCOTSS Product Safety Group, Christopher.Bell@edinburgh.gov.uk

RNLI crew Scott McIlravie and Coastguard Coastal Operations Area Commander, Ross Greenhill are in an unusual place today (Calton Hill) Edinburgh to highlight how if you don't expect to find us up here, we don't expect to find inflatables where we belong - on the coast/at sea

RNLI

RNLI crew Scott McIlravie and Coastguard Coastal Operations Area Commander, Ross Greenhill are in an unusual place today (Calton Hill) Edinburgh to highlight how if you don't expect to find us up here, we don't expect to find inflatables where we belong - on the coast/at sea

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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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