It is Hot Out Here but it is Freezing in There

Lifeboats News Release

Following a spate of tragic drownings in Scotland last weekend, the RNLI has issued a plea to the Scottish public to heed its water safety advice.

Cold water shock infographic


Cold water shock infographic

Temperatures across Scotland have been soaring and, despite cloud cover, have continued to stay high, making the country’s beaches and water ways all the more appealing. However, the RNLI is determined to reach as many people as possible with safety advice.

Water Safety Lead for the RNLI in Scotland, Michael Avril, said: “Hot temperatures make taking a dip at the coast, in a river or loch all the more tempting but we’re desperate for people to realise the dangers that lurk beneath the surface. Even with air temperatures rising, the water around Scotland’s coast and in our inland waterways rarely gets far above ten degrees Celsius. When we’re suddenly submerged in water below fifteen degrees, our body experiences ‘Cold Water Shock’ this causes you to gasp for air, thrash around and immediately puts you at risk of sinking below the water. The dangers of Cold Water Shock are very real and we really need the Scottish public to be aware”.

So what can you do to keep yourself and your loved ones safe if you’re in or around water? The RNLI has the following advice for all water users:

Google our ‘Float to Live’ message, watch our videos and share this lifesaving technique with friends and family:

  • Fight your instinct to thrash about
  • Extend your arms and legs
  • Lean back in the water, keep your chin up and airway open
  • Breath and hold this position for 60-90 seconds, your body will adjust to the water temperature and your breathing will return to normal.
  • At this point you will be able to calmly look for a way out of the water or call for help.

Michael Avril also added: “If you are going to the coast or to any body of water we always encourage people to follow our basic safety advice:

· If possible go to a lifeguarded beach

· Understand the local tide times, understand the risk of being cut off at any point by the tide

· NEVER use inflatables at the coast or in a body of water that is not a swimming pool, you can quickly be swept out to sea or out of your depth

· Don’t take risks

· If out paddleboarding or kayaking, take a means of calling for help such as a phone in a waterproof pouch and wear a lifejacket/buoyancy aid.

· Always tell someone where you are going and when to expect you back.

· If you want to try a new water sport, find a professional and trained instructor who can teach you safely.

Notes to editors

Images to accompany the articles are available for download here. Credit lifeguard images to Nick Mailer, other images to RNLI.

For online content – the float to live video is available to download/share here

We have a great selection of social media content for use here as well

Visit a lifeguarded beach


Visit a lifeguarded beach

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 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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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.