The RNLI has issues a warning to parents and children visiting beaches in Lancashire and other parts of the North West this summer holiday.
With school children in England breaking up this week and joining those from Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland already on their summer holidays, the RNLI and Coastguard are reminding them and their families how to stay as safe as possible when in and around the sea.
This is after the North West was revealed as a hotspot for RNLI lifeguard callouts for children and teenagers last year.
A total of 1,530 teenagers (aged 13-19) were assisted whilst out enjoying a stroll and 1,522 children (aged 1-12). This figure is markedly higher than anywhere else in the UK and Ireland.
Those rescued in the walking category is significantly higher than all other activities including paddling where 23 children and 19 teens were rescued, with 62 children and 31 teens assisted by lifeguards whilst playing on the coast.
Most of those offered help on the RNLI’s lifeguarded beaches in Sefton and the Wirral were simply out enjoying a walk and not expecting to even get their feet wet.
Now, with the school holidays approaching, the charity and Her Majesty’s (HM) Coastguard are calling for families to take extra care at the coast.
To help promote child and teen safety, the RNLI and HM Coastguard have launched a new animated children’s tv advert to help reinforce the beach safety message.
RNLI Water Safety Lead Chris Cousens says: “We see a big increase in the number of incidents involving children and teenagers during the school summer holidays and we would urge everyone – but families in particular – to be aware of the risks and know what to do in an emergency.
“Our main advice is to visit a lifeguarded beach and swim between the red and yellow flags. RNLI lifeguards will be patrolling around 245 beaches this summer to offer advice on how to stay safe and they are also there to help anyone who gets into trouble.
!We want people to enjoy the coast but urge everyone to respect the water, think about their own safety and know what to do in an emergency.”
Beach safety for adults in the North West
While the latest RNLI warning is for parents and adults, it’s important to note that North West adults should explore their local beach with caution too.
In 2020, RNLI lifeguards in the north west aided more people than anywhere else in the UK. They attended 846 incidents and aided 9,624 people.
RNLI statistics for the West region which includes the North West, show people enjoying a walk and getting cut off by the tide caused almost 10% of all RNLI lifeboat launches over the last decade – more than double the UK average.
Back in April, a man from Darwen in Lancashire was rescued by volunteers from Fleetwood RNLI.
He had been in the water for hours and was picked up by the inshore lifeboat, along with his equipment, before being transferred to the Shannon Class RNLI lifeboat for a more comfortable, warmer transfer to Fleetwood.
Alan Walker said: ‘I had been in the water for nearly two hours and was starting to feel pretty exhausted.
“Seeing the lifeboat come towards me was an immense sense of relief. I’m an experienced windsurfer and never thought I’d have to call for help, but it’s hugely reassuring to know there are people willing to drop everything and come to rescue a complete stranger in trouble.”
However, not every water-related incident had a happy ending
A man has died Crosby Beach in Merseyside, after receiving reports of three men in their 20s getting into difficulties in the sea.
This is the fifth person to have died in the north west in less than a week after getting into difficulty in open water.