People urged not to take unnecessary risks near the coast

RNLI's water safety warning during lockdown

RNLI's water safety warning during lockdown - Credit: Royal National Lifeboat Institution

People in North Somerset are being urged not to put extra pressure on emergency services by taking unnecessary risks near coastal areas during lockdown. 

The advice for people to keep themselves safe comes as RNLI lifeboats continue to launch during the nationwide lockdown. 

Every call for a lifeboat puts additional pressure on RNLI volunteers and other frontline emergency services; which are already stretched. 

Call-outs also put emergency services at risk of Covid-19.

Steve Instance, water safety lead for the South West, said: ‘During lockdown, RNLI lifeboats and stations remain operational and will launch around the clock where there is risk to life. 

‘We would encourage everyone to follow the latest Government guidelines on what they are able to do and where they are able to go during lockdown, but for anyone visiting a coastal area please understand the risks to be as safe as possible and not put unnecessary strain on frontline services. No one ever heads to the coast with the expectation of needing to be rescued, yet rescues are occurring every day. 

Weston RNLI spokesman, Glyn Hayes, said: “Many of the people we rescue have been caught out by the huge rise of tide and vicious currents we have in the Bristol Channel.

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"Our crew stands ready to launch if they are needed, but in doing so put themselves at risk. This advice is very timely as we work hard to maintain our service in these difficult times.” 

The RNLI’s key water safety advice is: 

  • Take care if walking near cliffs – be aware of ice and frost, know your route and keep dogs on a lead. 

  • Check tide times daily. 

  • Take a full-charged phone. 

  • If going afloat, always wear a lifejacket or another personal flotation device and take a means of calling for help. 

  • 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. 

  • In an emergency call 999 or 112 and ask for the Coastguard. 

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