High tides and cold sea temperatures spark RNLI Easter holiday safety advice
As many schools in Wales prepare to break for the Easter holiday later this week, the RNLI charity is urging those planning to visit the coast to do so safely.
The warning comes ahead of some of the highest tides of the year over the Easter weekend, which, historically, often see people cut off and requiring the RNLI’s help.
The charity is also reminding people that despite the temptation to have a dip, the sea is still incredibly cold, increasing the risk of cold water shock. With an increase in people using the sea for activities such as kayaking and paddleboarding, the charity is also urging people to be mindful of offshore winds and the risk of being swept out to sea.
Chris Cousens, RNLI Water Safety Lead for Wales says:
‘The good weather in March saw more people taking to the sea on stand up paddleboards and we expect to see the same once the schools break. Unfortunately volunteer RNLI lifeboat crews were called to a number of emergencies where paddleboarders were blown away from the safety of the shore by offshore winds and were unable to return without assistance.
‘Avoid using stand up paddleboards when the wind is blowing from the land to the sea, always carry a means of calling for help and keep it on your person and in an emergency always stay with your paddleboard as it will help you stay afloat.’
With schools breaking, RNLI lifeguards will return to their posts at some locations across Wales this weekend. From 10am this Saturday (9 April) the charity’s lifeguards will return to their posts at Swansea’s Langland Bay, Caswell and Three Cliffs Bay, as well as Whitesands in Pembrokeshire. Daily safety patrols will be provided by the charity’s lifeguards between the hours of 10am-6pm.
In North Wales, the RNLI is calling on families to take their own safety seriously and be mindful of risks, especially during the forthcoming Spring tides, where the tidal movement is greater than usual. The biggest tides over the Easter period fall on Easter Sunday and Monday (17-18 April) the holiday is likely to see an increased number of people visiting the coast.
RNLI statistics for Wales show people getting cut off by the tide caused almost 10% of all RNLI lifeboat launches over the last decade - more than double the UK average. Lifeguards rescue hundreds more stranded people every year.
Chris Cousens adds:
‘At this time of year the weather is usually starting to improve and there is a real temptation for families to enjoy a visit to the coast. We want people to enjoy their Easter and are therefore keen they take heed of important advice to ensure their trip is not memorable for all the wrong reasons. The Easter weekend, the higher than usual tides, coinciding with many families taking time out from work and school could potentially create anincrease in call outs for our volunteers.
‘The tide comes in and out twice in each 24 hour period, and while tide times can be accurately predicted, they vary at each location and change each day. A beach or coastal area may appear a safe place for a walk, but incoming tide can quickly leave you stranded. On bigger tides like those we will see over the weekend, places will be cut off by the tide quicker than normal and places usually unaffected by the tide may also get cut off.
‘That’s why checking the weather and tides using a trusted online source, such as magicseaweed.com, the BBC weather or a tidal prediction app before setting off on any trip is essential.
The RNLI is urging anyone choosing to visit the coast to make sure they keep themselves and their families safe by following beach safety advice:
· Wherever you are, check the weather forecast, tide times and read local hazard signage to understand local risks
· If you fall into the water unexpectedly, FLOAT TO LIVE. Fight your instinct to thrash around, lean back, extend your arms and legs, and Float.
· In an emergency dial 999 and ask for the Coastguard.
Notes to Editors
For more information, please contact Danielle Rush, RNLI Media Relations Manager in Wales and the North West on 07886 668829. Alternatively, please call the RNLI Press Office on 01202 336 789 or email [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.
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