THE RNLI is encouraging anyone planning to visit the coast this Easter to know the risks to protect themselves and their families.
This week the charity continues the rollout of its Easter lifeguard service with RNLI lifeguards returning to their posts at Aberafon, Coney/Sandy Beach, Trecco Bay, Whitmore Bay, Tenby South beach, Llangrannog and Borth ready for the Easter bank holiday.
RNLI lifeguards have been patrolling Whitesands in Pembrokeshire, as well as Three Cliffs and Langland Bay in Swansea since the start of the school Easter holidays.
But with the school holidays coinciding with a relaxation in lockdown travel within Wales, the RNLI has urged the public to take care if they visit the coast as, despite some recent warm weather, sea temperatures remain at their coldest this time of year.
Chris Cousens, RNLI Water Safety Lead said: ‘Although RNLI lifeguards will be patrolling some of Wales’ beaches this weekend, they can’t be everywhere, so people need to think about their own safety and what they would do in an emergency.
‘Coastal areas provide a great opportunity to enjoy fresh air and open space but it is important to remember it can be an unpredictable and dangerous environment, particularly during spring and early summer when air temperatures may be warm but water temperatures remain dangerously cold, increasing the risk of cold water shock.
‘We are reminding anyone planning to enter the water to take extra care and avoid unnecessary risks as early season conditions are more challenging.’
Not everyone who finds themselves in trouble in the water, expected to be there though.
Chris explains: ‘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 in this situation is to float on your back and wait for the effects of cold water shock to pass, keeping your airway clear until you can control your breathing. You can then plan your next move to reach safety.
If you or someone else is in trouble, always call 999 or 112 and ask for the Coastguard.’
Last year, RNLI lifeguards in Wales, on beaches in South Wales, West Wales and Denbighshire in North Wales attended 1,046 incidents and aided 2,673 people.
The RNLI’s key safety advice is:
- Check weather forecasts, tide times and any local hazard signage to understand local risks
- Take care if walking or running near cliffs – know your route and keep dogs on a lead
- Carry a fully charged phone
- If you get into trouble in the water, FLOAT to live – fight your instinct to thrash around, lean back, extend your arms and legs, and Float.
- In an emergency call 999 or 112 and ask for the Coastguard
To find your nearest lifeguarded beach go to rnli.org/find-my-nearest/lifeguarded-beaches