This bank holiday weekend, with more people expected to take part in water-based activities, the RNLI is sharing some advice and top tips to help people stay safe on the water, whether travelling to the coast or visiting inland waters.
RNLI Water Safety Lead, Kevin Rahill said: ‘This Bank Holiday weekend, many people are going to be heading to the water to enjoy themselves. We want to see people having fun in or on the water and keeping safe while doing it. By taking a few simple steps, everyone can reduce the risk of an accident.’
‘Even in Summer, water temperatures can be cold, rarely going above 15 degrees. Cold Water Shock can affect everyone. To avoid this, acclimatise to the water slowly to get used to the cold. If you fall in unexpectedly, remember to ‘Float to Live’ – lie on your back and spread your arms and legs, gently moving them to keep afloat. Keep floating until you feel your breath coming back before calling for help or swimming ashore if nearby.’
With swimming becoming increasing popular Kevin Rahill said: ‘Always choose to swim in a lifeguarded area and swim between the flags. Stay within your depth and swim parallel to the shore. Watch out for rip currents, if you do get caught in one, try to swim parallel to the shore until you can feel you are out of the current before trying to swim shore. Inflatable toys are not suitable for any open water and should be kept for the pool. They can easily be blown offshore very quickly.’
For other activity such as water boating, sailing, canoeing, paddle boarding, wear an appropriate personal flotation device suitable for the activity, and always carry a means of calling for help.
Whatever your activity, the RNLI advises to check the weather and tides or currents before you start.
If you get into trouble or see someone in trouble, dial 112 or 999 and ask for the Coast Guard.