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The road to better beach health this summer

The road to better beach health this summer

As lockdown eases and the summer holidays kick in, families will be spending time on one of the many beaches across the Kent and Sussex region, or the wider UK, making up for lost time in the fresh air.

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) and HM Coastguard have launched a beach safety 2020 campaign aimed at encouraging visitors to be ‘beach smart’ to help keep them and their families safe.

Despite the ongoing challenges posed by coronavirus and social distancing, the RNLI still hopes to provide a lifeguard service on around 30% of the beaches the charity usually covers in time for the traditional peak summer season. But we all need to follow the advice that the campaign provides.

The RNLI and HM Coastguard are advising the public not to use inflatables at all and for everyone, especially parents, planning a visit to a beach or the coast, to follow this safety advice:

  • Have a plan - check the weather forecast, tide times and read local hazard signage
  • Keep a close eye on your family – on the beach and in the water
  • Don’t allow your family to swim alone
  • Don’t use inflatables
  • If you fall into the water unexpectedly, FLOAT TO LIVE. Fight your instinct to thrash around: lean back, extend your arms and legs, and Float
  • In an emergency dial 999, and ask for the Coastguard

You can find out more about the RNLI’s beach safety campaign.

Gareth Morrison, RNLI Head of Water Safety, said:

‘It is important that anyone visiting the coast understands that the beach can be a dangerous environment and you must take more responsibility for you and your family this summer. No one ever goes to the coast to be rescued yet RNLI lifeguards rescue 1000’s each year,’

“While RNLI lifeboat crews and HM Coastguard are still on call ready to respond to emergencies, the message is clear; we need the public to be aware of dangers, take responsibility for themselves and their loved ones and remember that, in an emergency, call 999 and ask for the Coastguard.”

You’ll also find plenty of learning resources for children aged 3-11 that can be downloaded to help children to learn about the risks of visiting the coast and what they can do to keep themselves safe.

Did you know…..

  • The RNLI operates 238 lifeboat stations around the coast of the UK and Ireland, and they continue to launch to those in peril at sea
  • You can support the RNLI’s lifesavers
  • RNLI shops, museums and visitor centres remain shut and all community fundraising has stopped.
  • 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.

Do you have a favourite beach?

Which is your favourite beach in the Kent and Sussex area? Add a photograph of you, you and your friends or you and the family enjoying beach life this summer in the comments on our Facebook post. Don’t forget to tell us which beach you’re on and why it’s your favourite.

Published on 28 July 2020