Even more beaches with RNLI lifeguard cover this year
With the summer holidays about to begin, lots of families will be heading to the beach to enjoy the weather and coastline. This season we’re proud to be providing lifeguard cover for an additional nine beaches, making it easier for people to stay safe by the water this summer.
For the first time, RNLI lifeguards will operate on the following beaches:
- Runswick Bay
- Camber Sands East and West
- Leasowe Bay
- Pelham East and West
- Marina St Leonards
- Seaton Beach
Around 190 people lose their lives at the UK and Irish coasts each year – over half never planned to enter the water. People visiting the coast should therefore know the best immediate action to take should they fall into cold water unexpectedly.
As ever, our advice to stay safe at the seaside is to choose a lifeguarded beach and swim between the red and yellow flags. Our lifeguards and lifeboat crews do an amazing job, but should you find yourself in danger, knowing how to save yourself or someone else could be the difference between life and death.
You will now already be aware that this year our Respect the Water campaign is calling on the public to fight their instincts and remember one core survival skill – floating, until the effects of cold water shock pass and you can catch your breath.
What should people do?
Working alongside Professor Tipton, and with support from Swim England, we have developed simple steps to help you float, which we want people to remember and pass on to friends and family. Floating is not an easy skill in cold open water, but physically most people can float, they may just need to practise. The top floating tips are:
- Fight – Fight your instinct to panic or swim hard
- Lean – Lean back in the water to keep your airway clear
- Open – Open your body up, extend your arms and legs, pushing your stomach up
- Actions – Gently move your hands and feet to help you float
- Time – Maintain this for 60–90 seconds until you can control your breathing.
Helping people who think they can’t float
Some people may find it hard to float. In this instance, they should try moving their hands in small circles or a figure of eight to scull slowly. It may also help to kick their legs gently. Remind them that clothing provides natural buoyancy too as it traps air between layers when you fall in. The less you move, the longer the air stays trapped to help you float.
We can all help by encouraging people to practise their floating technique in a controlled environment, like a swimming pool.
What to do after cold water shock has passed?
Once people have caught their breath, they need to plan their next move. This will depend on the situation but options include:
- Swimming to safety
- Calling for help
- Finding something to hold onto to help keep afloat
- Huddle the body together to help preserve body heat until help arrives.
Please share this safety advice to help us save more lives this summer.
We are also reminding people that if they see someone else in trouble in the water, they should fight the instinct to go in after them. Instead call 999 and ask for the Coastguard.
Everyone has a role to play in keeping people safe from drowning this summer. It can be as simple having a conversation – you could try asking people if they know how to float, or if they know the one key survival skill which could help save their lives if they fell into cold water. Do your bit by passing this on.