The RNLI is urging people to be safe on beaches as fulltime lifeguard patrols come to an end across the North West of England.
The charity says whilst they will still provide a lifeguard service on some beaches across the region for September, fulltime patrols on many RNLI lifeguarded beaches will finish on Sunday 6 September.
Those intending to use the water are encouraged to head to one of the five lifeguarded beaches and if that’s not possible, consider spending your day elsewhere, say the charity.
Throughout the summer months, the RNLI has worked with local authorities to provide lifeguards on 177 beaches across the UK. The RNLI say despite the coronavirus pandemic, lifeguards adapted to new protocols to protect themselves and the public from the virus, which included wearing PPE, enchanced cleaning of equipment and maintaining social distancing.
Lifeguard flags will be lowered at beaches in Formby and Ainsdale this Sunday, but services will continue on West Kirby, Harrison Drive, New Brighton and Leasowe Bay between 10am and 6pm every weekend until September 27.
Crosby Beach meanwhile will maintain its year-round lifeguard service.
RNLI lifeguards deal with a whole range of things, from sea rescues, to first aid incidents and lost children. The charity says the rescues carried out by lifeguards in the region this season were, the rescue of three people within a 10 minute period who were caught in a strong tidal current, the rescue of a capsized kayaker a kilometre from the beach, and the administration of first aid to a lady stung by a jellyfish who subsequently suffered an anaphylactic shock.
RNLI safety advice:
Have a plan - check the weather forecast, tide times and read local hazard signage
Keep a close eye on your family – on the beach and in the water
Don’t allow your family to swim alone
Don’t use inflatables
If you fall into the water unexpectedly, FLOAT TO LIVE. Fight your instinct to thrash around, lean back, extend your arms and legs, and float
In an emergency dial 999, and ask for the Coastguard
Pete Rooney, RNLI Area Lifesaving Manager, said: "It has been an extremely busy summer for RNLI lifeguards with huge numbers of people visiting beaches in the North West of England and indeed across the UK. Our lifeguards have worked really hard and done a fantastic job of keeping people safe at the beach while working in a pandemic. They deserve great credit for the commitment and dedication they have shown.
"The majority of our lifeguards’ work is preventative so as well as the rescues and incidents they were involved in, they will have stopped many more potentially dangerous incidents before they occurred.
"We know many people are still on furlough and not holidaying abroad, so it’s likely more people than usual will be visiting the UK coast this September. If you’re visiting the beach, take note of the safety signage at the entrance, go with a friend or tell someone on the shore where you’re going, and always be aware of the conditions and your own capabilities in the water."
For details of which beaches have RNLI lifeguard patrols in September and October, go to RNLI.org/find-my-nearest