RNLI warns of dangerous sea conditions as strong easterly wind is forecast

Lifeguards News Release

The RNLI in the south west are issuing a safety warning to anyone planning to head to the region’s south coast this weekend. A strong easterly wind will cause treacherous sea conditions and big swell, unusual to this usually sheltered part of the coastline.

RNLI lifeguard on Rescue Water Craft in big waves

RNLI Nathan Williams

RNLI lifeguard on Rescue Water Craft

While the sun may be shining through the week and feel relatively warm, the easterly wind has begun to pick up, and is forecast to increase in strength from Friday through to Saturday. People planning to visit the coast should think twice and consider the risk before carrying out any sea-based activities. This includes swimming, kayaking, stand-up-paddle-boarding and even coastal walking.

It is also very important to remember that at this time of year, while the air temperature can be warm, the sea is still very cold. The cold water combined with the waves and currents generated by the wind, could catch people out.

Steve Instance, RNLI Water Safety Lead for the South West says;

‘Our main concern is those east facing beaches or coastal areas that are usually sheltered from the prevailing winds and offer usually calm and safe bathing conditions. However, faced by strong easterly winds we’re expecting large waves and strong currents which will create dangerous conditions for anyone on or near the sea.

We’d urge those considering going into the water, to take extra care or better still, wait a few days until the wind has died down or head to a lifeguarded beach where the lifeguards can offer advise.

The strong easterly wind will also mean that people considering kayaking or stand up paddle boarding on any part of our coastline should take extra care as they can easily be carried out to sea.

If you find yourself caught in a rip current, please adhere to the following safety advice:

• Swim parallel to the shore until free of the rip and then head for shore

• Do not try to swim against the rip current or you’ll get exhausted

• Always raise your hand and shout for help

Remember to FLOAT to live if you do get into difficulty and if you see somebody in trouble around the coast dial 999 and ask for the coastguard.’

Notes to Editors

• Follow the link to see which beaches are currently lifeguarded here

• To support the RNLI’s lifesavers, go to: www.rnli.org/donate

Media contacts

For more information please contact Claire Fitzpatrick-Smith, Regional Media Engagement Placement on c_fitzpatrick-smith@rnli.org.uk or 07472979209 or Amy Caldwell, Regional Media Manager on Amy_Caldwell@rnli.org.uk or 07920818807 or RNLI Press Office on 01202 336789 or via pressoffice@rnli.org.uk

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.