RNLI warn us to stay safe over summer after youth rescue figures are announced

Lifeguards News Release

The RNLI and HM Coastguard are asking families to take care at the coast during the school holidays.

RNLI/Sarah Beck

Female RNLI lifeguard patrols the beach

The South East RNLI lifeguards assisted 1111 children and teens between June and September 2020. A large proportion of those rescued were swimming in the sea or using inflatables.

With school children in England breaking up this week, the RNLI and Coastguard are reminding families to be aware of the risks and have launched a new animated tv advert to help young children understand how to stay safe at the coast.

RNLI Water Safety Education Partner Sam Johnson said:

‘We see a big increase in the number of incidents in the sea involving children and teenagers during the school summer holidays and we would urge everyone – but families in particular – to be aware of the risks and know what to do in an emergency.’

‘Our main advice is to visit a lifeguarded beach and swim between the red and yellow flags. RNLI lifeguards will be patrolling around 245 beaches this summer to offer advice on how to stay safe and they are also there to help anyone who gets into trouble.’

‘Children should be supervised at all times and people of all ages should avoid swimming alone.’

‘We want people to enjoy the coast but urge everyone to respect the water, think about their own safety and know what to do in an emergency.’

The key summer safety advice is:

· Visit a lifeguarded beach & swim between the red and yellow flags

· If you get into trouble Float to Live – lie on your back and relax, resisting the urge to thrash about

· Call 999 in an emergency and ask for the Coastguard

Claire Hughes, Director of HM Coastguard, said the coastal emergency services have already seen an increase in 999 calls this summer and expect to be even busier during the school holidays.

‘Last year we had our busiest-ever summer on record, with 13,493 incidents from the start of June to the end of August,’ she said.

‘And, despite the variable weather this June, we responded to 3,981 incidents - up from 3,536 in June 2020 - so we’re expecting it to be another busy season.

‘We want everyone to enjoy the summer around our coasts and take home only happy memories. The sea can be dangerous, so we’d ask everyone to help the emergency services by taking safety seriously.

‘If you do see someone in trouble, don’t delay, call 999 and ask for the Coastguard and we’ll send our teams and emergency services partners to help, day and night.’

New figures released show RNLI lifeguards saved the lives of 54 children and teenagers last summer.

For further information on the beach safety campaign visit: RNLI.org/BeachUK2021

A full list of RNLI lifeguarded beaches can be found here: rnli.org/find-my-nearest/lifeguarded-beaches

Notes to editors:

· Interviews available on request with the RNLI and HM Coastguard

· A link to download the animated children’s advert is here: https://rnli.getbynder.com/m/1382a70592dee42a/original/RNLI-Kids-TV-Advert-16-9.mp4

· In 2020, RNLI lifeguards saved a total of 110 lives, aided 25,172 people - including 1,908 involving bodyboards and 348 with inflatables – responded to 10,687 incidents and made more than 2.2M preventative actions

· 2021 is the 20th anniversary of the RNLI’s lifeguard service

· 1,500 RNLI lifeguards will be patrolling on approximately 245 beaches this summer under contract from local authorities and landowners

· The RNLI also operates 238 lifeboat stations around the coasts of the UK, Ireland and the Channel Islands.

· To support the RNLI’s lifesavers, go to: RNLI.org/GoDonate

Media Contacts

For more information, please contact Sarah Beck, Media Engagement Placement on 07929 673280 or email sarah_beck@rnli.org.uk or Paul Dunt, Regional Media Officer on Paul_Dunt@rnli.org.uk. Alternatively, contact the 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 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 more than 142,700 lives.

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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