Lifeguards will provide a full-time lifesaving service at Skegness and Mablethorpe from this Saturday, May 29, with Ingoldmells and Sutton-on-Sea on service in time for the school summer holidays.
In a survey1, commissioned by the RNLI 75% of those questioned aged 16-64 expect to visit a UK beach or the coast between April and September, with around half of that number likely to do so three or more times. 36% also said they plan to visit the coast more than usual this year.
Last summer, RNLI lifeguards recorded more than 15 million2 visitors on the beaches the lifesaving charity was patrolling on. But with continued uncertainty over foreign holidays and international travel, the charity is predicting this summer will be the busiest ever, as Covid restrictions are eased and people choose to ‘staycation’.
Ahead of the Bank Holiday weekend and half-term holidays, the RNLI and HM Coastguard are launching a new safety campaign, urging everyone to choose lifeguarded beaches when they visit the coast.
"We are expecting this summer to be the busiest ever for our lifeguards and volunteer lifeboat crews," says Nick Ayers, RNLI Regional Water Safety Lead. "These new figures back that up.
"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.
"Our main advice is to visit a lifeguarded beach and swim between the red and yellow flags. RNLI lifeguards will be there to offer advice on how to stay safe and also help anyone who gets into trouble. The coast provides a great opportunity to enjoy fresh air and open space but can be an unpredictable and dangerous environment, particularly during early summer when air temperatures start warming up, but water temperatures remain dangerously cold, increasing the risk of cold water shock."
The key summer safety advice is:
o Visit a lifeguarded beach & swim between the red and yellow flags
o If you get into trouble Float to Live – lie on your back and relax, resisting the urge to thrash about
o Call 999 in an emergency and ask for the Coastguard
Claire Hughes, Director of HM Coastguard, said: "2020 was an exceptionally busy year and we’re expecting more people to take their holidays around our wonderful coasts this summer.
"‘We’re asking everyone to follow a few simple safety tips, so the trip is memorable for all the right reasons. Before setting out, take a minute to check the weather, tides and winds to help avoid getting caught out. Leave inflatables at home as they are designed for the pool, not open water, where the wind and current can very quickly take you out to sea and into danger. Recreational watersports such as paddleboarding are now incredibly popular and we’d encourage everyone to make it a fun rather than frightening experience.
"It pays to prepare and taking a mobile phone in a waterproof pouch when you set out for a paddle will mean you can call for help if needed. If you or someone else is in trouble, always call 999 and ask for the Coastguard.’
"In a normal year, around 140 people lose their lives accidentally at the coast and we know that more than half of those never intended to be in the water,’ adds Nick Ayers. ‘If you find yourself in trouble in cold water, your natural reaction can be to panic and thrash around, which increases the chances of breathing in water and drowning. The best thing to do is to float on your back and wait for the effects of cold water shock to pass until you can control your breathing. You can then plan your next move to reach safety.’
Coun Steve Kirk, Portfolio Holder for Coastal Economy at East Lindsey Disrtict Council, said: “The RNLI provides an invaluable service to help keep our beaches safe and ensure that our local residents and visitors also feel safe when visiting our coastal lines. We look forward to receiving visitors in the coming months and want everyone to enjoy themselves safely. We urge visitors to be mindful of any Government guidance in place at such time of visiting and as always beware of the sea, play safely and enjoy your visit.”