RNLI Hoylake Lifeboat Station warns walkers to take care when visiting the coast

Lifeboats News Release

Following recent changes to government advice regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, the UK Coastguard and RNLI volunteers are receiving increased calls to assist walkers in danger of being cut off by the tide.

RNLI Hoylake Hovercraft volunteer crew assists walkers in danger of being cut off by the tide

RNLI/Victoria Phipps

RNLI Hoylake Hovercraft volunteer crew assists walkers in danger of being cut off by the tide

In their third call out of the week, Hoylake RNLI hovercraft was requested to launch by the UK Coastguard at 1.57pm on 13 May to reports of a group of 4 people and a dog in danger of being cut off by the incoming tide around a mile offshore from Leasowe Lighthouse.

The relief hovercraft ‘John Russell’ and her volunteer crew launched quickly and headed to the casualties’ reported location. The group were found to be close inshore near to the rocky groyne known as Barber’s Folly.

The hovercraft crew spoke to the group, advising them of the dangers of the incoming tide and providing them with a safe route ashore around the channels in the area. The hovercraft remained on scene until the group reached the sea wall, where they were met by Wirral Coastguard Rescue Team officers who provided further safety advice.

Coastguard officers and RNLI volunteers had noticed a further 20 to 30 people across the beach close to the water’s edge. With the tide still flooding, the RNLI hovercraft headed back out across the beach to ensure those people were not in danger.

The hovercraft crew warned another group about the tide, advising them of the safest route ashore, and remained in the area carrying out safety drills and training until they were happy that the incoming tide presented no further danger to the public. The hovercraft then returned to station where it was made ready for service once again.

Hoylake RNLI volunteer hovercraft commander Matt Pownall-Jones said: ‘We understand that with the change in Government instructions and recent good weather, many people will want to visit and exercise on our local beaches. But we urge everyone to think carefully about whether you need to go to the coast in case you get into difficulty.’

‘If you do choose to go to the coast, always check the tide times and local safety notices and know your route back to shore. If you or someone else gets into difficulty at the coast, dial 999 and ask for the Coastguard.’

This local advice comes at a time when, as the Government takes its first tentative steps to ease the COVID-19 lockdown, the Royal National Lifeboat Institution is urging people across the country to take extra care along the coast. The RNLI is warning visitors to the coast that there are currently no RNLI Lifeguards on beaches and whilst volunteer lifeboat crews remain ready to answer emergency calls if needed, people should inform themselves of the local risks and take steps to ensure their own safety near water.

Notes to editors

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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 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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