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RNLI issues water safety advice during extreme heat warning

Lifeboats News Release

With an extreme heat warning issued this week for England and parts of Wales, the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) is urging people to stay safe at the coast.

With air temperatures set to be in the mid-30s, the RNLI is reminding people about the dangers of cold water shock, which can seriously affect breathing and movement, and can occur in any water temperature below 15c.

Over half of those who get into danger at the coast each year never planned to enter the water – slips, trips and falls are a significant problem. The RNLI is urging people to ‘Float to Live’ if they get into trouble in the water. This means leaning back and spreading your arms and legs to stay afloat, controlling your breathing, then calling for help or swimming to safety. In a coastal emergency, call 999 or 112 for the Coastguard, or the fire and rescue service if you are inland.

Gareth Morrison, Head of Water Safety at the RNLI said: ‘With another heatwave forecast for this weekend, we want to remind everyone to stay safe when visiting the coast.

‘With so many people enjoying the water this summer, it’s important that we all know the risks. The sea can be unpredictable, and even with the temperatures soaring, the fact is that the water is still cold.

‘The sea temperature around the UK and Ireland rarely gets above 15 degrees, and the risk of cold water shock significantly increases as air temperatures rise.

‘If you get into trouble in the water, Float to Live. Lean back, using your arms and legs to stay afloat. Control your breathing, then call for help or swim to safety. In a coastal emergency, call 999 or 112 for the Coastguard.’

The RNLI is also reminding people to visit a lifeguarded beach and swim between the red and yellow flags this summer, and to ensure they take the necessary precautions for any coastal activities.

Gareth said: ‘To help stay safe, we encourage people to visit a lifeguarded beach and swim between the red and yellow flags, which mark the safest stretch of water and the area our lifeguards patrol.

‘Record numbers are also taking to the water on craft such as paddleboards and kayaks, many for the first time. It’s important to always remember to wear a lifejacket or buoyancy aid and to take a means of calling for help.’

For further information on the water safety campaign visit:

A full list of RNLI lifeguarded beaches can be found here:

Notes to editors

· Gareth Morrison, RNLI Head of Water Safety is available for interview

· Images and Float to Live video available to download here:

· Regional water safety interviews can be arranged across the UK and Ireland

RNLI media contacts

For more information please telephone Tom Dale, RNLI Press Officer on 07977 157959 or [email protected] or the RNLI’s press office on 01202 336789 or [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.