Scottish RNLI issues safety advice before easing of lockdown

The RNLI in Scotland has asked the public to stay safe, as Scottish Government lockdown restrictions are eased over the coming days.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced plans to allow people to travel short distances, limited to five miles within their local area, for exercise including allowing outdoor swimming, kayaking and angling.

The charity in Scotland says a change in lockdown rules does not mean a safer coast and water temperatures remain dangerously cold.

Jacob Davies, RNLI Lifesaving Manager for Scotland, said: “With an unusually warm spring coupled with the easing of a lockdown which has seen many of us unable to visit our favourite beaches, we expect many people to be eager to hit the coast.”

“However, just because the lockdown restrictions are being relaxed does not mean our coasts are safe, the dangers that have always been there remain.

"We ask those who are local to beaches to continue to be aware of the inherent dangers and to avoid taking risks. Our strong advice to the Scottish public, who are not local to a beach, is to exercise locally and not to travel to the coast.

"Scotland’s air temperature may be warming up but the sea temperature remains consistently chilly all year, jumping or falling into cold water or spending longer periods than normal submerged in the water can lead to, potentially fatal, cold water shock.”

Credit: PA

Michael Avril, Scotland’s Water Safety Lead for the RNLI and Chair of Water Safety Scotland said: “The Scottish public need to remember the following safety advice: Stay in familiar surroundings, follow Scottish Government advice of remaining within five miles of your home, don’t put yourself, your family and emergency services at risk by taking risks or assuming it ‘won’t happen to you’.

"If you do see someone at risk call 999 and ask for the Coastguard.”

The RNLI is running restricted lifeguard service on a couple of the UK's beaches however this service will not be starting until later in June.