Local RNLI issue water safety warning during lockdown

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The RNLI has issued a plea asking the public to follow government guidelines and stay safe if they live close to the coast.

According to the government website, under current regulations you are allowed to leave home for exercise in your local area, which is defined as ‘the village, town, or part of the city where you live.’

Will Jones, RNLI volunteer at West Kirby wearing PPE. Photo: David Edwards.

Chris Cousens, RNLI Water Safety Lead for the North West, said: “During lockdown, RNLI lifeboats and stations remain operational and will launch around the clock where there is risk to life.

“We would encourage everyone to follow the latest government guidelines on what they are able to do and where they are able to go during lockdown, but for anyone visiting a coastal area please understand the risks to be as safe as possible and not put unnecessary strain on front line services. No one ever heads to the coast with the expectation of needing to be rescued yet rescues are occurring every day.

“In a normal year around 150 people lose their lives at the coast and we know that more than half of those never intended to be in the water. So, whether you are walking, running or cycling at the coast, or doing some activity on or in the water, please be extra responsible and avoid taking unnecessary risks.”

West Kirby lifeboat rescue Hilbre Island family cut off by tide in 2020

The RNLI and HM Coastguard last month launched a winter coastal safety campaign to highlight the dangers of stormy seas, changing tides and cliffs at this time of year.

Chris added: “We’re urging everyone to follow our advice and stay safe. In particular at this time of, we ask people to stay well back from stormy, wintery seas and cliff edges, check tide times before you go, take a phone with you, and call 999 or 112 and ask for the Coastguard if you or someone else is in trouble.”

The RNLI’s key water safety advice is:

· Take care if walking near cliffs – know your route and keep dogs on a lead

· Check tide times daily

· Take a full-charged phone 

· If going afloat, always wear a lifejacket or other personal flotation device and take a means of calling for help

· Check your equipment is in good working order

· Be aware of the conditions and your capabilities and only enter the water if it is safe to do so

· In an emergency call 999 or 112 and ask for the Coastguard

· Additional safety advice at www.rnli.org/safety

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