RNLI’s advice to stay safe at seaside

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WITH Whitby’s schoolchildren on their Easter break and looking forward to a succession of bank holidays, the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) is offering some important beach tips for anyone planning a trip to the coast, writes Alex McCormack.

Over the Easter and May Day weekends last year, the RNLI’s lifeboats launched 126 times to leisure boating incidents, rescuing 17 people, while the charity’s lifeguards responded to 102 incidents and helped 120 people on some of the UK’s busiest beaches.

Peter Chennell, RNLI Sea Safety Manager, said: ‘Last year, more than half of RLNI lifeboat launches were to pleasure craft and we’re offering boaters some simple sea safety advice so that they can enjoy their first trip afloat of 2011.”

The RNLI’s volunteer lifeboat crews are on-call 24/7, ready to launch and rescue those at danger at sea, while three beaches in the north of England are being patrolled by the charity’s lifeguards over the Easter, Royal Wedding and May Day bank holidays.

For those going out to sea RNLI’s top safety tips are:

1. Wear a life jacket

2. Get relevant training

3. Carry a means of calling for help

4. Check engine and fuel

5. Tell others where you are going

6. Check weather and times

For those heading to the beach, the RNLI’s top five beach safety tips are:

1. Swim at a lifeguarded beach

2. Never use inflatables in strong winds or rough seas

3. Check tide times before you go

4. If you get into trouble, stick your hand in the air and shout for help

5. If you see someone else in trouble, tell a lifeguard. If you cant see a lifeguard, call 999 or 112 and ask for the Coastguard.

Ross Macleod, RNLI Beach Safety Programmes manager, said: ‘For those planning a trip to the beach, the RNLI’s advice is to choose a lifeguarded beach and swim between the red and yellow flags, which is the area most closely monitored by the lifeguards.”

For more information visit www.rnli.org.uk/beachsafety or www.rnli.org.uk/seasafety.

To find your nearest lifeguarded beach visit www.goodbeachguide.co.uk