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RNLI in Scotland issues water safety advice as warm weather continues

Lifeboats News Release

Despite the arrival of September, warm weather saw beachgoers flocking to the coast, like Coldingham Bay, over the weekend. As the RNLI Lifeguard service comes to an end this month, the RNLI is reminding people to take extra care when enjoying our beaches.

On Sunday (3 September) strong offshore winds and warm sunny conditions kept RNLI lifeguards at Coldingham Bay busy as many beachgoers took to the water on stand up paddleboards. Lifeguards took preventative action to ensure paddleboarders didn’t get taken out to sea by the offshore winds, entering the water three times to bring people to safety.

Senior Lifeguard Rose McTavish said: ‘In an offshore wind, Coldingham Bay can feel very sheltered, but as you move further out of shelter the wind can increase in strength. It can be very hard to paddle against, making getting back to shore difficult or even impossible.’

‘As we’re only here during the weekends in September, and the weather is forecast to be warm this week we’d like to remind paddleboarders to be prepared. Always wear a leash and buoyancy aid, a wetsuit can keep you warm if you fall in the water. Carry a waterproofed means of calling for help and avoid offshore winds. In any coastal emergency dial 999 and ask for the Coastguard.’

In 2022 the RNLI as a whole saw a 126% increase in the number of call outs to paddleboarding incidents. In the past 5 years this number has increased 422% with 77 paddleboarder’s lives being saved, 32 last year alone.

Michael Avril, RNLI Water Safety Lead in Scotland said: ‘With the warm weather forecast this week, we want to remind everyone to stay safe when visiting the coast.

‘The peak season has now finished for RNLI lifeguards in Scotland, with our current lifeguard service only available at Silver Sands in Aberdour and Coldingham Bay in the Scottish Borders on the weekends, so we’re asking people to continue to take care and be aware of the dangers. Even though we’re experiencing warmer weather, it’s important to remember that the water is still significantly colder than the temperature outside.

‘If you are planning on swimming at a lifeguarded beach, we highly recommend you swim between the red and yellow flags as this is the safest area and is most closely monitored by lifeguards.

‘If you can, swim with others and stay close together. If you get into trouble in the water, Float to Live. Tilt your head back with ears submerged and try to relax and control your breathing. Use your hands to help you stay afloat and then call for help or swim to safety if you can.

‘If you see someone in difficulty on the coast, call 999 and ask for the Coastguard. To find out more, you can refer to the WSS (Water Safety Scotland) Water Safety Code, or visit RNLI.org.uk’

For more information on paddleboards and how to keep safe, visit the RNLI’s paddleboarding safety page here.

Coldingham Bay and Silver Sands RNLI lifeguards are on patrol 10am-6pm on Saturdays and Sundays until 24 September inclusive.


Notes to editors

· More information on RNLI paddleboard rescues can be found here

· In 2022 RNLI lifeboats from 238 stations across the UK and RoI launched 9,312 times saving 389 lives, RNLI Lifeguards saved a further 117 lives.

· Over the past five years, RNLI lifeboat volunteers have helped save the lives of 77 stand up paddleboarders, with 32 lives saved last year.

· In 2022, RNLI lifeguards saw a staggering 155% rise in paddleboarding incidents compared with 2021 while volunteer lifeboat crews saw an increase of 20%.

RNLI media contacts

Natasha Bennett, RNLI Regional Media Officer for Scotland, 07826 900639, [email protected]

Martin Macnamara, RNLI Regional Media Manager for Scotland, 07920 365929, [email protected]

24 hour RNLI Central Press Office, 01202 336789 or email [email protected]

Veronika Zolotoverkha

An RNLI Lifeguard at Coldingham Bay in the Scottish Borders.

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.

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