RNLI’s Water Safety warning as North West enters lockdown

Lifeboats News Release

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) is urging anyone who is able under government guidelines to visit the coast during lockdown, to stay safe and not take any unnecessary risks that may put extra pressure on emergency services.

David Edwards

Will Jones, RNLI volunteer at West Kirby wearing PPE

As the UK and Ireland enter new nationwide lockdowns, RNLI lifeboats will continue to launch. However every time a lifeboat crew is called to an incident, it puts additional pressure on RNLI volunteers and other front line emergency services. In addition to this it also potentially exposes them to Covid-19.

The lifesaving charity is asking the public to follow government guidelines and think carefully if they are live close to the coast.

Chris Cousens, RNLI Water Safety Lead for the North West says: ‘During lockdown, RNLI lifeboats and stations remain operational and will launch around the clock where there is risk to life.

‘We would encourage everyone to follow the latest government guidelines on what they are able to do and where they are able to go during lockdown, but for anyone visiting a coastal area please understand the risks to be as safe as possible and not put unnecessary strain on front line services. No one ever heads to the coast with the expectation of needing to be rescued yet rescues are occurring every day.

‘In a normal year around 150 people lose their lives at the coast and we know that more than half of those never intended to be in the water. So, whether you are walking, running or cycling at the coast, or doing some activity on or in the water, please be extra responsible and avoid taking unnecessary risks.’

The RNLI and HM Coastguard last month launched a winter coastal safety campaign to highlight the dangers of stormy seas, changing tides and cliffs at this time of year.

Chris added: ‘We’re urging everyone to follow our advice and stay safe. In particular at this time of, we ask people to stay well back from stormy, wintery seas and cliff edges, check tide times before you go, take a phone with you, and call 999 or 112 and ask for the Coastguard if you or someone else is in trouble.’

The RNLI’s key water safety advice is:

· Take care if walking near cliffs - know your route and keep dogs on a lead

· Check tide times daily

· Take a full-charged phone

· If going afloat, always wear a lifejacket or other personal flotation device and take a means of calling for help

· Check your equipment is in good working order

· Be aware of the conditions and your capabilities and only enter the water if it is safe to do so

· In an emergency call 999 or 112 and ask for the Coastguard

· Additional safety advice at www.rnli.org/safety

For more information, please contact Danielle Rush, RNLI Media Manager in Wales, the West and the Isle of Man on 07786 668829.

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.

Learn more about the RNLI

For more information please visit the RNLI website or Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. News releases, videos and photos are available on the News Centre.

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.

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