We are lucky to have some excellent local beaches and be close to an historic river.
During the summer months, if the sun is shining, we can expect our beaches to be busy.
Beautiful and exciting as our coastal waters are, the reality is, they can also be dangerous.
Across the UK there are around 400 accidental deaths each year in and around water, and around half of them are linked to alcohol.
Sadly, figures also show that between 40 and 50 children drown each year in the UK.
I want even more people to visit our beaches, and earlier this year I helped launch the Beach Access North East scheme, which is working to make it easier for disabled people to use our beaches.
But I also want people to use our coast safely.
There’s no shortage of online advice – from Clive the Coastguard, the Maritime and Coastguards Agency’s Sea
Smart Campaign and the RNLI’s Respect the Water Campaign, to name but three sources.
Later this week I’ll be visiting Swim Safe on Longsands, and when Parliament returns I’m due to meet the Royal Life Saving Society to learn more about some of the risks.
I will also be looking carefully at post-Brexit plans to make sure strong environmental protections remain to keep our beaches clean.
Let me also say thank you to those who are there when incidents happen – the RNLI with local Tynemouth and
Cullercoats crews and the Tynemouth Volunteer Life Brigade – who do a fantastic job.