Stark figures released by the RNLI reveal lifeguards on the North West’s beaches assisted 2,314 children and 2,007 teenagers last summer – more casualties under the age of 18 than anywhere else in the UK and Ireland, including on the popular South West coast.
A total of 1,530 teenagers (aged 13-19) were assisted whilst out enjoying a stroll and 1,522 children (aged 1-12). This figure is markedly higher than anywhere else in the UK and Ireland. Those rescued in the walking category is significantly higher than all other activities including paddling, where 23 children and 19 teens were rescued, with 62 children and 31 teens assisted by lifeguards whilst playing on the coast.
Now, with the school holidays approaching, the charity and Her Majesty’s (HM) Coastguard are calling for families to take extra care at the coast.
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RNLI statistics for the West region, which includes the North West, show people enjoying a walk and getting cut off by the tide caused almost 10 per cent of all RNLI lifeboat launches over the last decade - more than double the UK average.
RNLI Water Safety Lead Chris Cousens said: ”We see a big increase in the number of incidents involving children and teenagers during the school summer holidays and we would urge everyone – but families in particular – to be aware of the risks and know what to do in an emergency.
“Our main advice is to visit a lifeguarded beach and swim between the red and yellow flags. RNLI lifeguards will be patrolling around 245 beaches this summer to offer advice on how to stay safe and they are also there to help anyone who gets into trouble.
“We want people to enjoy the coast but urge everyone to respect the water, think about their own safety and know what to do in an emergency.”
The RNLI and HM Coastguard have launched a new animated children’s tv advert to help reinforce the beach safety message. The advert can be downloaded here: https://source.rnli.org.uk/share/308432B0-D5A7-43D7-B0E9EDB9B653257A/
The key summer safety advice is:
• Visit a lifeguarded beach & swim between the red and yellow flags;
• If you get into trouble Float to Live – lie on your back and relax, resisting the urge to thrash about;
• Call 999 in an emergency and ask for the Coastguard.
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