RNLI’s Water Safety warning during 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.

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.

Gareth Morrison, RNLI Head of Water Safety, said: ‘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 everyday.

‘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.

Gareth Morrison added: ‘Our beaches and coastal areas may see an increase in visitors in the days and weeks to come, so we’re urging everyone to follow our advice and stay safe.

‘In particular at this time of year, 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:

ENDS

MEDIA OPPORTUNITY:

  • Phone and Skype interviews are available with RNLI Head of Water Safety, Gareth Morrison. Please contact the RNLI Press Office on 01202 336789
  • Archive video footage and photos are available upon request or you can visit rnli.org.uk/news-and-media where you can download further content.

RNLI media contacts

For more information please contact the RNLI Press Office on 01202 336789 or 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.