WITH lots of lifeguard patrols finishing for the season, the RNLI are issuing important safety advice for people still planning to visit beaches in Wales.
RNLI lifeguards have had a busy summer season this year, responding to a wide variety of incidents across beaches around the Welsh coast. The lifeguards work included; assisting missing children, rescuing swimmers from tidal cut-offs and rip currents and delivering first aid and casualty care.
Daily RNLI lifeguard patrols on beaches in Ceredigion, Swansea and North Wales have now come to a close this season, which makes it all the more important to follow the RNLI’s lifesaving advice.
If your local beach is no longer lifeguarded, and you’re heading to the coast to enjoy the last of the good weather, make sure that you plan your trip and tell someone where you’re going beforehand.
The RNLI wants the public to enjoy the water, but to respect it too, as it can be calm one minute and rough the next.
Chris Cousens, RNLI Community Safety Partner said: ‘Now that peak season is almost over, the majority of beaches in Wales and the North West are not lifeguarded. It’s important to remember that if you find yourself or anyone else in difficulty on the coast, shout for help and call 999 to ask for the coastguard.
‘Our volunteer lifeboat crews remain on call all year round, and are ready to assist 24 hours a day, but the best advice we can give is that if you’re heading to the coast, please respect the water.’
Check the weather forecast and tide times before you get to the beach, as you should be cautious of off-shore winds, rip currents, and powerful waves. The sea can be unpredictable, and changing currents can quickly take you from the shallows out of your depth.
Now that we’re heading into September, and the weather will likely worsen, a danger to be really aware of is cold water shock. Anything below 15°C is defined as cold water and can seriously affect your breathing and movement. The average sea temperature in the UK and Ireland is just 12°C.
If you find yourself struggling in cold sea water, and are having difficulties breathing, the RNLI encourages the public to Float To Live. The charity advises you to fight your instinct to swim hard and panic, which can lead to breathing in water and drowning. Instead, float on your back, try to control your breathing, and then plan your next move, which can be either calling for help or swimming back to shore.
The RNLI also recommend that people save their inflatables for the swimming pool, and don’t use them out at sea. With offshore winds, changing tides and strong currents, people can be pulled far out to sea on their inflatables. If you do get out of your depth with an inflatable, the RNLI recommends that you stay with it, as it will keep you afloat, and to shout for help.
You can find more beach safety advice on the RNLI website: https://rnli.org/safety/beach-safety