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With the warm weather set to continue, the RNLI in the North West is calling on people to stay safe


Extreme heat water safety advice from RNLI in North West

With a weather warning issued this week for England, the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) is urging people to stay safe at the North West coast.

With air temperatures set to be in the mid-30s, the RNLI is reminding people about the dangers of cold water shock, which can seriously affect breathing and movement, and can occur in any water temperature below 15c. The increase in the popularity of Stand Up Paddleboards (SUP) has also led the charity to issue a reminder about how to carry out this activity safely.

Over half of those who get into danger at the coast each year never planned to enter the water – slips, trips and falls are a significant problem. The RNLI is urging people to ‘Float to Live’ if they get into trouble in the water. This means leaning back and spreading your arms and legs to stay afloat, controlling your breathing, then calling for help or swimming to safety. In a coastal emergency, call 999 or 112 for the Coastguard, or the fire and rescue service if you are inland.

With RNLI crews and lifeguards across the North West reporting an increase in call outs to Stand Up Paddleboards, a reminder has been issued to those participating in the activity. Before venturing on the water, it is important to wear a Personal Floatation Device and ensure an appropriate leash is worn. The RNLI recommends always checking the weather and tides before partaking in the activity and avoid paddling out in offshore winds. Before heading out on to the water, the RNLI advises taking a mobile phone in a waterproof pouch and calling the Coastguard on 999 in an emergency.

Chris Cousens, RNLI Water Safety Lead for the RNLI in the North West said:

‘We’ve seen an increase in call outs to Stand Up Paddleboards and hope people take heed of this vital advice which will ensure they can enjoy this activity as safely as possible.

‘With another heatwave forecast for this weekend, we want to remind everyone to stay safe when visiting the North West coastline. With so many people enjoying the water this summer, it’s important that we all know the risks. The sea can be unpredictable, and even with the temperatures soaring, the fact is that the water is still cold.

‘The sea temperature around the UK and Ireland rarely gets above 15 degrees, and the risk of cold water shock significantly increases as air temperatures rise.

‘If you get into trouble in the water, Float to Live. Lean back, using your arms and legs to stay afloat. Control your breathing, then call for help or swim to safety. In a coastal emergency, call 999 or 112 for the Coastguard.’

The RNLI is also reminding people to visit a lifeguarded beach and swim between the red and yellow flags this summer, and to ensure they take the necessary precautions for any coastal activities.

Chris adds: ‘To help stay safe, we encourage people to visit a lifeguarded beach and swim between the red and yellow flags, which mark the safest stretch of water and the area our lifeguards patrol.

For further information on the water safety campaign visit: RNLI.org/FloatUK2022

A full list of RNLI lifeguarded beaches can be found here: rnli.org/find-my-nearest/lifeguarded-beaches

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, in a normal year, 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.

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