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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.
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.
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.
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.
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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17 people accidentally died around the Welsh coast last year, while a further 65 were saved by RNLI crews and lifeguards