FOLLOWING a busy return to Welsh beaches for RNLI lifeguards, the charity is urges parents to be beach safe.
Lifeguards have had a busy return to service in Wales, with two lives saved in the opening weeks.
Now with further easing of Welsh Government restrictions this weekend, lifeguard teams are expecting the beaches of Wales to get busier again and are urging visitors to take responsibility for their safety.
On Whitesands beach in Pembrokeshire, a female bodyboarder was pulled to safety by RNLI lifeguards after she was found separated from her board and struggling to stay above water. Lifeguards at Whitmore Bay saved the life of a swimmer who got into difficulty in the turbulent waters off Nells Point and on Langland Bay, Swansea, RNLI lifeguards have had a busy fortnight dealing with 16 major incidents, coming to the aid of 27 people.
With self-contained holiday accommodation expected to open in Wales from Saturday, July 11, the RNLI and HM Coastguard are today calling for anyone visiting the coast to take extra care and be beach safe this summer.
RNLI lifeguards will be patrolling on 26 beaches in Wales this weekend – including Rhyl and Prestatyn in North Wales – but lifeguards can’t be everywhere this summer, so the charity is urging beach-goers to be aware of the dangers at the coast, and to know what to do should they or a member of their family get into trouble.
- If you can, please visit a lifeguarded beach. But wherever you are;
- Have a plan – check the weather forecast, tide times and read local hazard signage
- Keep a close eye on your family – on the beach and in the water
- Don’t allow your family to swim alone
- Don’t use inflatables
If you fall into the water unexpectedly, FLOAT TO LIVE. Fight your instinct to thrash around, lean back, extend your arms and legs, and Float
In an emergency dial 999, and ask for the Coastguard
Chris Cousens, RNLI Water Safety Lead for Wales, said: ‘We have now got RNLI lifeguards on far more beaches than we originally planned after the easing of lockdown rules. Our ability to do this has been helped by the regular dialogue between the RNLI and Welsh Government, the approach to easing restrictions and the caution and responsibility shown by the people of Wales.’
‘But our lifeguards still can’t be absolutely everywhere this summer.’
‘That’s why we are urging everyone to take extra care of themselves and their families whenever they are in or near the water.’
‘No one ever goes to the coast expecting to be rescued, yet RNLI lifeguards and lifeboat crews rescue thousands of people each year. And the fact that we have been so busy already this summer shows us that some people are not taking these warnings seriously enough.
‘If you get into danger in the water, relax and float to give yourself time to recover before swimming to safety or calling for help. If you see someone else in danger, please call 999 and ask for the Coastguard.’
Claire Hughes, director of HM Coastguard said: ‘We know from sad experience that whether you’re local or not, whatever your ability of experience in your chosen sport or leisure activity, the sea can still catch you out and be unmerciful when it does
‘We know how beautiful the coast is but it’s deadly if you get it wrong and your choices might put your family, friends and our frontline responders at risk as well as yourself.
‘Check tide times and remember the sea has currents and rip tides that can’t easily be seen. Look out for each other and if you get into trouble call 999 and ask for the Coastguard.
‘Don’t make your trip to the coast memorable for all the wrong reasons.’