Lifeguards are warning any families planning a trip to the beach to put safety first as the school holidays get underway.
Last year RNLI Lifeguards were called out to more than 15,000 incidents saving 84 lives on some of the UK's busiest beaches.
The charity's volunteer lifeboat crews responded to more than 2,000 calls outs, rescuing 1,300 people and saving 171 lives.
Children accounted for nearly two thirds of incidents RNLI lifeguards were called out to last year alone.
To help people stay safe RNLI is offering the following top five beach safety tips:
- Swim at a lifeguarded beach, between the red and yellow flags
- Never use inflatables in strong winds or rough seas
- Check weather and tide times before you go
- If you get into trouble, stick your hand in the air and shout for help
- 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.
– Ross Macleod, RNLI Beach Safety Programmes Manager
"With the school holidays just starting, and the weather set to get better, it’s likely people will want to make the most of it and head to the beach. The RNLI’s advice is to choose a lifeguarded beach and swim between the red and yellow flags, which is the area most closely monitored by the lifeguards. ‘For anyone who can’t get to a lifeguarded beach, there are some straightforward steps they can take to help keep themselves out of danger. They can find out about their chosen beach before they visit, check the weather and tide times, and follow the advice shown on safety signs at the beach entrance. By following this basic advice, we hope people will have a great time but stay safe as well."
The RNLI’s has two beach safety guides which are available free-of-charge. The first, On The Beach, is aimed at families and is packed full of top tips on how to stay safe at the beach, as well as ideas for games to play on the beach. The second, In The Surf, includes vital safety and kit information for popular surf sports. Both guides are available from firstname.lastname@example.org