Maritime rescuers are urging even people who live by the sea to avoid taking unnecessary risks on the water next week, warning that every rescue puts extra pressure on 999-services.
The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) echoed the messages put out by police and tourist leaders about the need to keep to the lockdown rules over the school half term holiday.
The charity pointed out that every time a lifeboat crew is called to an incident, it puts additional pressure on RNLI volunteers and other front-line emergency services as well as potentially exposing them to Covid-19.
Joel Ninnes, RNLI Water Safety Coordinator said: “With schools closed over the half-term and a break in online learning, it is likely we will see people lucky enough to live close to the coast using it to exercise. We are encouraging everyone to follow Government guidance on what they are able to do and where they are able to go during lockdown.
“The school holiday will look very different this year, but for those able to use the coast for exercise, we would urge them to familiarise themselves with local risks and be as safe as possible and not put unnecessary strain on front line services.”
The RNLI and HM Coastguard have launched a winter coastal safety campaign to highlight the dangers of stormy seas, changing tides and unstable cliffs at this time of year.
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Joel added: “In particular at this time of year, 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 is below.
- Take care if walking on cliffs – know your route, watch for slippery mud and ice, be aware of unstable edges and keep dogs on a lead
- Check tide times daily
- Take a full-charged phone
- 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
- Additional safety advice at www.rnli.org/safety