Harwich RNLI reminds people to respect the water as schools break up for summer

Lifeboats News Release

In the wake of two incidents within two hours involving swimmers, and inflatables on Tuesday evening (19 July), coming as schools break for summer, the team at Harwich RNLI would like to remind everyone to respect the water.

Thankfully on both launches, the charity’s volunteers arrived off Felixstowe to find the casualties were already ashore, and in the care of the Felixstowe Coastguard Rescue Team.

The two incidents coming on the hottest day on record, just before schools break for summer, has prompted the team at Harwich RNLI to remind those venturing to the coast to do it safely, and urge all to leave the small inflatables at home. Their occupants can easily and quickly find themselves out of reach from land, swept along by the wind and tide.

Harwich RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager, Peter Bull said: ‘If you’re visiting the coast, a lifesaving skill we ask everyone of any age to remember is how to Float to live, if they find themselves in difficulty in the water. Lean back, using your arms and legs to stay afloat, just like a big starfish. This will allow you to control your breathing, then call for help or swim to safety.

‘Make sure to check the weather forecast and tide times before you head out, and if you see someone or you are in difficulty yourself, call 999 and ask for the Coastguard.

Respect the water as it won’t respect you.’

Free Swimsafe sessions are being held throughout August at Harwich and Clacton, to help children have a safer time at the beach. Sponsored again by the Harwich Haven Authority, and Tendring District Council, these free sessions give children that can swim the added skills to do it safely at the coast, and can be booked at swimsafe.org.uk

There is lots more information on enjoying the coast safely at rnli.org, and tips such as; put a wristband on your child with your mobile number on, or simply write it on their arm, in case you get separated.

RNLI media contacts

For more information, please contact:

Richard Wigley, RNLI Harwich volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer on 07903424698 or [email protected],

Clare Hopps, Regional Media Officer on 07824518641or [email protected] or contact the RNLI Press Office on 01202 336789.

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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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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