Safety advice for coastal visitors during COVID-19 outbreak

Lifeboats News Release

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) is urging anyone planning a visit to the coast to stay safe and not take any unnecessary risks.

RNLI/Oliver Wrynne-Simpson

Given the current COVID-19 outbreak and the importance of social distancing and avoiding non-essential contact with others, coastal areas may be seen as providing an opportunity to enjoy fresh air and exercise while adhering to the government’s guidance. However our coastal areas can also present dangers of their own. The RNLI is asking people to ensure they follow essential water safety advice.

Please take the time to take note of signage at the entrances of beaches advising of the local hazards, check tide times to avoid being cut off and to check weather conditions before setting out as these can change quickly. If you see someone in difficulty, or you get into difficulty yourself, please call 999 or 112 and ask for the Coastguard.

More safety advice can be found at www.rnli.org/safety

Gareth Morrison, RNLI Head of Water Safety, said:

‘Our beaches and coastal areas may see an increase in visitors in the days and weeks to come, so we’re urging everyone to follow our advice and stay safe.

‘Whether you’re fishing, surfing, kayaking, sailing or just going for a walk, we’re asking people to be extra responsible and to avoid taking unnecessary risks to themselves and others which could put unnecessary pressure on front line services:

  • Take care if walking near cliffs - know your route
  • Check tide times daily
  • If going afloat, carry a means for calling for help and always wear a lifejacket
  • 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.

‘During these unprecedented times, we have taken steps to close our lifeboat stations and shops to the public. However RNLI lifeboats and stations remain fully operational and we will still launch to those in peril on the sea.

‘As with all public places we’d encourage people to follow guidelines provided by the government to maintain a two-metre distance, follow good hygiene practices and avoid mass gatherings.’

ENDS

MEDIA OPPORTUNITY:

  • Phone and Skype interviews are available with RNLI Head of Water Safety, Gareth Morrison. Please contact the RNLI Press Office on 01202 336789
  • Archive video footage and photos are available upon request or you can visit rnli.org.uk/news-and-media where you can download further content.

RNLI media contacts

For more information please contact the RNLI Press Office on 01202 336789 or pressoffice@rnli.org.uk

RNLI/Oliver Wrynne-Simpson

Key facts about the RNLI

The RNLI charity saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service around the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland coasts. The RNLI operates over 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and more than 240 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK and Channel Islands. The RNLI is independent of Coastguard and government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824, its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved over 142,700 lives.

Learn more about the RNLI

For more information please visit the RNLI website or Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. News releases, videos and photos are available on the News Centre.

Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries

Members of the public may contact the RNLI on 0300 300 9990 (UK) or 1800 991802 (Ireland) or by email.