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RNLI urges public to stay back from rough seas ahead of Met Office warnings

Lifeboats News Release

In anticipation of the gale force winds predicted to hit England and Wales over the coming days, the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) is urging people to stay safe near the coast as severe weather could make our coastlines particularly dangerous.

RNLI/Tim Stevens

Heavy Atlantic swell hitting Sennen Cove Lifeboat Station in October 2020.

Lifesaving charity, the RNLI, are encouraging people to exercise extreme caution if visiting the shoreline, especially along exposed cliffs, seafronts and piers, if local government guidelines allow them to visit the coast.

The expected cold weather, heavy rain and up to 70mph winds around the coast for England and Wales pose a severe safety risk to those visiting the coast. The Met Office have issued a yellow safety warning for wind, coming into force at 9pm on Wednesday through to 3pm on Thursday.

The weather is expected to stay unsettled with blustery showers and inland gales for the weekend.

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.

‘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, please be extra responsible and avoid taking unnecessary risk or entering the water.

‘In particular, 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 – be aware of ice and frost, know your route and keep dogs on a lead.
  • Check weather forecasts and tide times daily.
  • Take a fully charged phone.
  • Check your equipment is in good working order.
  • Be aware of the conditions and your capabilities.
  • In an emergency call 999 or 112 and ask for the Coastguard.

Find additional safety advice at

Notes to editors

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

RNLI media contacts

For more information please contact the RNLI Press Office on 01202 336789, [email protected].

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.

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.