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RNLI urge public to stay safe ahead of Storm Ciarán

Lifeboats News Release

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) is reminding those visiting the coast to be aware of the dangers as Storm Ciarán is expected to bring strong winds and heavy rain to southern England and Wales from Wednesday evening.

RNLI/Andy Lyons

Swanage RNLI all-weather lifeboat out on a service call earlier in October in rough seas

The Met Office has issued an amber weather warning with winds forecast to reach more than 80mph in coastal locations along the south coast of England, with some exposed areas seeing 90mph gusts.

The expected strong winds will also bring heavy rain posing a safety risk to those visiting the coast. Lifesaving charity the RNLI, is encouraging people to exercise extreme caution if visiting the shoreline, especially along exposed cliffs, seafronts and piers.

RNLI Water Safety Manager, Ross Macleod said: ‘This rough weather could make visiting our coasts around southern England and Wales treacherous and bring very dangerous sea conditions.

‘Sadly, around 150 people accidentally lose their lives in UK and Irish waters each year and over half of these people didn’t plan on ever entering the water. Slips, trips and falls can be a major factor in these kinds of incidents.

‘While people may want to experience extreme weather around the coast, we would strongly advise against doing so. It is not worth risking your life, so we urge people to respect the water and watch from a safe distance.

‘If you see someone else in danger in the water, call 999 or 112 and ask for the Coastguard. If you have something that floats that they can hold on to, throw it to them. Don’t go in the water yourself – too many people drown trying to save others.’

The RNLI advice is:

· Stay well back from stormy seas and cliff edges.

· Check tide times before you go.

· Take a phone with you.

· In an emergency call 999 or 112 and ask for the Coastguard.

Notes to editors

· Downloadable sound bite from Water Safety Manager Ross Macleod.

· Downloadable image: Swanage RNLI all-weather lifeboat in rough conditions. Credit RNLI/Andy Lyons.

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.