RNLI's water safety warning as North West enters lockdown


As the North West enters a third national lockdown, we're being urged stay safe while visiting the coast.

The RNLI is urging anyone who is able to visit the coast during lockdown under government guidelines, to stay safe and not take any unnecessary risks that may put extra pressure on emergency services.

The charity says RNLI lifeboats will continue to launch during the lockdown, however every time a lifeboat crew is called to an incident, it puts additional pressure on RNLI volunteers and other front line emergency services.

Chris Cousens, RNLI Water Safety Lead for the North West said:

"During lockdown, RNLI lifeboats and stations remain operational and will launch around the clock where there is risk to life.

"We would encourage everyone to follow the latest government guidelines on what they are able to do and where they are able to go during lockdown, but for anyone visiting a coastal area please understand the risks to be as safe as possible and not put unnecessary strain on front line services. No one ever heads to the coast with the expectation of needing to be rescued yet rescues are occurring every day.

The RNLI and HM Coastguard last month launched a winter coastal safety campaign to highlight the dangers of stormy seas, changing tides and cliffs at this time of year.

Chris added: ‘We’re urging everyone to follow our advice and stay safe. In particular at this time of, we ask people to stay well back from stormy, wintery seas and cliff edges, check tide times before you go, take a phone with you, and call 999 or 112 and ask for the Coastguard if you or someone else is in trouble.’

The RNLI’s key water safety advice:

  • Take care if walking near cliffs - know your route and keep dogs on a lead

  • Check tide times daily

  • Take a full-charged phone

  • If going afloat, always wear a lifejacket or other personal flotation device and take a means of calling for help

  • Check your equipment is in good working order

  • Be aware of the conditions and your capabilities and only enter the water if it is safe to do so

  • In an emergency call 999 or 112 and ask for the Coastguard

You can read more advice on how to stay safe at the coast here.