Campaign to reduce coastal deaths in Wales

The RNLI is launching a campaign today to help people stay safe along the Welsh coast this summer. New figures reveal the number of deaths on the coast is higher than those involved in cycling accidents.

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'I could've been one of the drowning statistics'

Today sees the launch of the RNLI's Respect The Water campaign which is highlighting the risk of drowning around the coast of Wales and the rest of the UK.

It's being backed by 21-year-old Thomas Redmond, from Briton Ferry, who was saved by Port Talbot RNLI crew last month when his kayak overturned at Aberavon beach.

Thomas returned to Port Talbot station to thank the crew for helping him Credit: RNLI

He was tipped into the sea when his kayak began filling up with water.

As he clung to the kayak’s side, five men saw he was in trouble and attempted to swim to his aid.

"I consider myself to be quite strong but I was completely overcome by the water. I can swim but there is no way I would have been able to make it to the shore by myself.

"I never quite realised how a relaxing day at the seaside could go so wrong.

"I could have well been one of the drowning statistics; things could have been a lot worse. I would urge people to take heed of the RNLI’s safety advice and take extra care on the coast."

– Thomas Redmon


More deaths on Welsh coast than in cycling accidents

The RNLI says more people lost their lives on the Welsh coast than in cycling accidents.

In total, 17 people died last year, and 65 were rescued by lifeboats and lifeguards.

The RNLI says slips and falls are a common issue Credit: Nicholas Leach

Since 2010, a total of 70 people have died around Wales' coast.

Adult men accounted for 73% of them.

Today the RNLI launches its Respect the Water campaign, aimed especially at men, to try and bring these figures down.

Nationally, an average of 160 people die at the coast each year. The RNLI is aiming to halve accidental coastal deaths by 2024.

RNLI: How to stay safe along the coast this summer

Nicola Davies, the RNLI’s Coastal Safety Manager in Wales says:

"Of course we want people to go to the coast and enjoy it – we’re lucky to have an exceptional coastline around Wales – but we want people to understand there are risks, and that they should not underestimate the power of the sea."

Advice from the RNLI on how to stay safe along the Welsh coastline:

  • Choose a lifeguarded beach and swim between the red and yellow flags, where you’ll have professional lifeguards looking out for you.
  • If you want a few drinks in the sun on the beach, remember that alcohol and water don’t mix, so drink after swimming, not before.
  • Despite warm air temperatures, the UK sea temperature is cold enough year-round to trigger cold water shock, so acclimatise gradually in shallow water.
  • If you get caught in a rip current, don’t panic or try to swim against it; swim parallel to the shore until you’re free. To avoid falls, stay away from cliff edges, stick to pathways and read safety signs.’
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