RNLI warns Fylde coast beach-goers to think about safety
Blackpool's lifeboat volunteers expect even more call-outs, after 11 so far this month.
The RNLI charity has now issued safety advice to beach-goers to prevent tragedy – as the heatwave continues.
Phil Denham, a volunteer at the resort’s Promenade lifeboat station, said: “We know the weather is brilliant at the moment and people are keen to enjoy the beach, however, we would encourage everyone to have fun safely.”
In the last four weeks, lifeboats have launched to people in inflatables drifting out to sea – despite a Gazette front page warning of the dangers of doing so – swimmers in difficulty, a person who had jumped into the sea from South Pier, and a range of other casualties in need of assistance.
The RNLI said the number and variety of casualties shows just how easy it is to get into trouble during a day out to the beach, with around 190 people dying in UK and Irish waters each year. More than half never planned to go in the water.
Earlier this month, beach lifeguard Luke Halstead, 19, pleaded with people to keep inflatable dinghies and rafts out of the sea, after a rescue involving four people who were blown almost 1km off the coast of Cleveleys.
And on Thursday, the lifeboats launched from Fleetwood, with the Coastguard also called out, after five men from Manchester tried to paddle two inflatable canoes around two miles to Kings Scar.
They were seen frantically paddling for around an hour without moving after being caught out by the tide – and were not aware the water was only knee-deep until rescuers arrived. Red-faced, they had to pull their crafts to shore in front of bemused onlookers, one official said.
The RNLI’s Respect the Water campaign, which aims at preventing drownings, highlights a number of risks, advises on how people can avoid danger, and increase the chances of survival in an emergency.
This year, it is asking readers to help save more lives by sharing some simple survival skills: if you find yourself in the water unexpectedly, fight your instincts and float until the effects of cold water shock pass.
To keep safe on the beach, check the weather forecast and tide times, keep an eye on your surroundings and the direction of the tide, and always call 999 or 112 and ask for the Coastguard if you get into difficulty or see anything that gives you cause for concern.
Volunteers at the RNLI in Blackpool will be giving out advice at two events this summer. They will be hosting fun and games at Blackpool Pleasure Beach on Sunday, July 29, and a family fun day at the lifeboat station, in central Blackpool, from 10am until 4pm on Saturday, August 4.