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RNLI offer safety advice for Sunderland International Air Show

The annual Sunderland International Air Show attracts thousands along the Wearside coastline. Photo: ITV

Ahead of what is traditionally a very busy weekend for the RNLI beach lifeguards and lifeboat volunteers, they want to remind those attending the event to make safety their number one priority.

The Sunderland International Air Show is in its 24th year and is now Europe’s largest free air show attracting almost one million visitors over the weekend, including many visitors who decide to travel and watch the event at sea.

Crowds enjoying the aircraft displays in 2010. Credit: ITV

During the two and a half day event twenty three RNLI Lifeboat volunteers and beach lifeguards will be on duty each day, along with volunteers from Sunderland Volunteer Life Brigade, Sunderland MCA Coastguard Station and Officers from Northumbria Police’s Marine Division.

To help create a safe area for the event to take place an exclusion zone has been put in place by Sunderland Port Authority’s, which requires all craft to remain to seaward of the line of buoys’ which will be in place between Roker Light and Whitburn Steel.

To try and prevent incidents from happening in the first place, and to help people have a safe and enjoyable show, the RNLI are offering the following beach and sea safety tips:

  • Listen to lifeguards’ advice regarding the tides. Where you set up in the morning may be underwater by the incoming tide during the middle of the afternoon.
  • There are signs warning people against standing on the outfall pipe atSeaburn beach. Incoming tides can create dangerous currents alongside it.
  • If you see someone in difficulty, never attempt a rescue yourself. Ask for the lifeguards; dial 999 or the coastguard on 112. If you get into trouble, put your hand in the air and call for help.

Safety Tips:

  • A lifejacket is useless unless worn – make sure you fit yours correctly.
  • Don't overload your boat. Ensure you don’t carry any more people than Don’t overload boat is designed to carry.
  • Observe speed limits (6 knots) within the harbour.
  • Check Check your engine and carry spares.
  • Carry a means of calling for help like a VHF radio or flares.

We encourage those attending this fantastic event to follow our advice which will help keep them safe and ensure they have a fantastic enjoyable weekend. It is most important that people keep an eye on the rising tide throughout the event which will lead to various parts of the beach becoming cut off towards the event of the event. If anyone needs any further advice during the event, they should contact either an event steward or a member of one of the rescue organisations.

– Clive Fallon, Helmsman at Sunderland RNLI

Anyone who needs emergency assistance along the coast should either contact a member of the emergency services or dial 999 or 112 and ask for the HM Coastguard.