Busy weekend ahead for lifeboat crews
The RNLI is urging people to be safe over the bank holiday weekend, as the charity prepares for one of its busiest times of the year.
Last year volunteer crews launched 162 times over the three days, rescuing 167 people, while lifeguards on the beach responded to 424 incidents and helped 458 people.
Rick Raeburn, RNLI sea safety training manager, said: ‘Our advice is not meant to spoil the fun of water users, but breaking down at sea can be a stressful experience and, at best, ruin your day.
‘So we always recommend that those going boating or enjoying other watersports activities make sure they follow our sea safety tips.
‘In particular, we advise that all who go afloat wear a well-fitted lifejacket and know how to operate it should an emergency situation unfold, because a lifejacket is useless unless worn, if it is worn incorrectly or if it is not in full working order.’
Top RNLI sea safety tips:
1. A lifejacket is useless unless worn – make sure you fit yours correctly;
2. Get some training – know how to handle your boat and be confident in your own abilities;
3. Check your engine and carry spares;
4. Check the weather and tides before going afloat;
5. Carry a means of calling for help such as a VHF or flares;
6. Tell others where you are going and when you expect to be back.
After the death of a teenager off Whitby on Wednesday, who was pulled out to sea by a rip tide, the RNLI also has safety advice for people heading to the beach.
Steve Wills, RNLI beach safety manager, said: ‘The beach can be a dangerous environment, as the tragedy at Whitby on Wednesday shows.
‘Rip currents can quickly drag people out to sea, beyond their depth. If you get caught in a rip, try to stay calm and wave your arm in the air to signal for help.
‘If you feel you can swim, it’s best to swim parallel to the beach until free of the current, and then head for shore.’
Top RNLI beach safety tips:
1. Always swim at a lifeguarded beach, between the red and yellow flags;
2. Never use inflatables in strong winds or rough seas;
3. Check times of high and low tide before you go to avoid getting stranded;
4. If you get into trouble, stick your hand in the air and shout for help;
5. If you see someone else in trouble, tell a lifeguard. If you can’t see a lifeguard, call 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard.
For more information, visit www.rnli.org.uk/seasafety.