RNLI urging coastal visitors to safe

Tynemouth RNLI Severn class all weather lifeboat Spirit of Northumberland.  Picture by Adrian Don/RNLI
Tynemouth RNLI Severn class all weather lifeboat Spirit of Northumberland. Picture by Adrian Don/RNLI

Visitors to the coast are being urged to take extra care by a life-saving charity.

Figures released by the Royal National Lifeboat Institution show an increase in the number of lifeboat launches in the North last year.

Crews at Tynemouth lifeboat station were the third busiest in 2016, being called out 75 times, while Cullercoats inshore lifeboat was called out 25 times.

Now officials at the RNLI want people to avoid trouble in the first place and understand what to do if they find themselves or others in danger in the water.

Darren Lewis, RNLI life-saving manager, said: “In 2016, our charity’s lifeboat crews and lifeguards in the north of England saved 64 lives.

“Last year’s figures show immense dedication by our volunteer life-savers but the increase in lifeboat launches and incidents dealt with by our lifeguards highlights the need for people to be extra vigilant in or around water.

“Our charity promotes safety messages all year round via interactive campaigns such as Respect the Water and Hit the Surf.

“Through these initiatives we have equipped thousands of people with invaluable lifesaving tips.

“With Easter just around the corner, it’s the ideal time to remind people that to have an enjoyable time at the coast, they need to treat it with respect.

“A little preparation beforehand and knowing what to do if you do get into trouble can sometimes mean the difference between life and death.”

Top safety tips for people visiting the coast include familiarising yourself with tide times before setting off, always letting someone know where you are going and what time you expect to be return, the correct way to raise the alarm if you do get into difficulty – by calling 999 and asking for the Coastguard, and to always swim at a lifeguarded beach.

The charity’s lifeguards will be returning to many beaches during April with safety patrols operating through to September.

Darren added: “We’d always urge people to visit a lifeguarded beach and swim between the red and yellow flags.

“RNLI lifeguards are highly trained and are able to deal with anything from locating missing children through to lifesaving rescues.

“They’re always happy to offer friendly safety advice and this provides beach users with extra peace of mind.”