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RNLI urges public to stay safe ahead of tomorrow’s yellow weather warning

Lifeguards News Release

The RNLI is advising the public to visit lifeguarded beaches and take extra care tomorrow (Saturday 5 August) as the Met Office issues another yellow weather warning for strong winds around the whole south west coast.

Current Met Office forecasts are for strong north westerly winds affecting the whole south west coast throughout Saturday. These conditions are predicted to create large swells which will lead to challenging conditions and unpredictable seas.

Alongside this week’s large spring tides, these conditions can result in a dangerous sea state and increase the risk of strong rip currents. If you see a red flag at a lifeguarded beach, do not enter the water, as it is unsafe for any water activities. If there are no flags, there are no lifeguards.

Some south west beaches were red flagged on Wednesday due to similar conditions, with the RNLI performing a number of rescues.

On 2 August at 6pm, a surfer who entered the water at St Agnes despite the beach being red flagged, was caught out by the high tide and got into difficulty after being unable to get back to shore. St Agnes lifeboat was unable to launch due to the high tide, therefore, RNLI lifeguards and both Newquay and St Ives lifeboats coordinated the rescue, which resulted in the surfer being picked up in deeper water by Newquay lifeboat volunteers and taken to safety at Newquay.

At Perranporth and Perran Sands on Tuesday 1 August, a total of 10 people were rescued in large surf by RNLI lifeguards due to strong rip currents at low tide. They were all brought back to the beach safely by the patrolling lifeguards. The charity is reminding anyone who is planning to visit the coast to be well prepared for any activity planned in the water, to check tide times and always swim between the red and yellow flags.

Spring tides and large waves mean people could very easily get cut off by the incoming tide. Anyone heading to the coast is reminded of the importance of checking the tide times and ensuring they have enough time to return if they decide to venture further along the beach.

And if you are visiting the coastline along cliff paths and piers, please keep a safe distance from the edge as surging currents can sweep people off their feed unexpectedly.

Steve Instance, RNLI Water Safety Lead for the south west, said: ‘This is the second yellow warning for wind that has been issued this week, and with this latest forecast falling on a Saturday which is typically changeover day for tourists, those arriving to the area may not be up to date with local news and forecasts so could be caught unaware of the conditions.

‘It is incredibly important that those heading to the coast this weekend keep themselves safe by choosing a lifeguarded beach and visiting within the patrol hours of 10am-6pm. The lifeguards can offer advice and information on tide times and guide you to the safest area to swim, which will be between the red and yellow flags. Anyone surfing should know their limits and always stay within the black and white flagged area.

‘Always make sure you are always contactable at the coast by carrying a fully-charged mobile phone and if you get into trouble or see someone else in trouble, call 999 and ask for the Coastguard.’

If you find yourself in difficulty in the water, float to live;

· tilt your head back with ears submerged

· relax and try to control your breathing

· use your hands to help you stay afloat

· call for help

If you get caught in a rip current:

· If you have a floatation device such as a bodyboard, keep hold of it

· Swim parallel to the shore until free of the rip and then head for shore

· Do not try to swim against the rip current or you’ll get exhausted

· Always raise your hand and shout for help

RNLI media contact

For more information contact Emily Bray, RNLI Media Engagement Placement (South West) on 07929 673281 or [email protected] or Claire Fitzpatrick-Smith, RNLI Regional Media Officer, on 07977 728315 or [email protected]

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For more information on the RNLI please visit News releases and other media resources, including RSS feeds, downloadable photos and video, are available at the RNLI News Centre

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.