RNLI urges people to stay safe ahead of Storm Dennis

Lifeboats News Release

The RNLI is reiterating its safety advice ahead of Storm Dennis, which is due to hit this weekend, and is urging people to stay safe near the coast. During Storm Ciara last week, an RNLI lifeboat almost capsized with six volunteers onboard.

Lifesaving charity, the RNLI, is encouraging people to exercise extreme caution if visiting the coast this weekend, especially along exposed cliffs, seafronts and piers during Storm Dennis.

Storm Dennis is forecast to bring heavy rain, large waves and widespread gales across the UK and Ireland this weekend and pose a severe safety risk to those visiting the coast.

During Storm Ciara, the Hastings lifeboat launched with six volunteer crew onboard which saw the lifeboat almost capsize as it was hit by a huge wave as it launched after a surfer was reported in difficulty. The volunteers have been praised for their actions during the stormy weather and thankfully due to the capabilities of the lifeboat, they all made it back safely unharmed.

Ross Macleod, RNLI Water Safety Manager said:

‘We’ve recently seen Storm Ciara sweep through and this is immediately being followed by Storm Dennis bringing dangerous weather to our coastlines. We are still seeing people walking in exposed areas to see crashing waves, putting themselves at risk of being swept in.

‘We urge anyone going out to think twice about the dangers around our coastline. Sadly, around 150 people accidentally lose their lives around UK and Irish waters each year and over half of these people didn’t plan on ever entering the water. Slips, trips and falls can be a major factor in these kinds of incidents, especially with the risk of cold water shock for anybody finding themselves in the water unexpectedly.’

Around the UK and Ireland, the RNLI operates 238 lifeboat stations with dedicated volunteers ready to launch if the call comes in.

Ross continues: ‘If you see someone else in danger in the water, call 999 and ask for the Coastguard. If you have something that floats 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.’

The RNLI’s crews are busier than ever, and stormy conditions can mean additional call outs for the already extremely busy volunteer crews. Whatever the weather, RNLI volunteers will still be on call to rescue those in difficulty at sea.

The RNLI’s major fundraising appeal, The Perfect Storm, is raising the funds needed to provide the very best kit and training to ensure the charity’s volunteer crews can continue to save lives at sea in all conditions. To find out more or to donate visit RNLI.org/ThePerfect Storm.

Paul Hogg

Hastings lifeboat almost capsizes in a recent rescue during Storm Ciara

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 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and 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.