The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) and Her Majesty’s Coastguard (HM) remind families in Wales to take care when visiting the coast as thousands of people flock to the seaside in hot weather .
New figures reveal that during the summer school holidays last year, more than 800 lifeguard incidents were reported in Wales, many of which involved children and teenagers.
RNLI beach lifeguards expect to be extremely busy again during the long summer break.
The RNLI and HM Coastguard ask those visiting the coast to choose a supervised beach and know some basic tips to keep themselves and their families safe.
Last year, RNLI lifeguards helped a total of 990 people during summer school holidays across Wales.
Jo Price, the RNLI’s lead lifeguard for Ceredigion and South Wales, said: “Our lifeguards will be extremely busy over the summer school holidays. To stay safe, we remind families to choose a supervised beach whenever possible and swim between the red and yellow flags which is the safest area as it is constantly monitored by our highly trained lifeguards.
“One simple skill we ask everyone of any age to remember is how to float to live if they find themselves struggling in the water. Lean back like a starfish, using your arms and legs to stay afloat. This will allow you to control your breathing and then call for help or swim to safety. The technique has been proven to save lives.
Throughout the summer months, an RNLI Seaside Safety children’s advert will air on television with the catchy song reminding those visiting the coast to float like a starfish if they find themselves in trouble in the ‘water.
Claire Hughes, Director of HM Coastguard added: “We urge anyone visiting the coast and taking part in coastal activities to be aware of the hazards so they can have a safe and enjoyable summer.
“Always check weather conditions and tide times before heading for the coast as it is very easy to quickly get cut off by the tide or swept out to sea. Whatever activity you choose to do, be it swimming, paddleboarding, walking, or anything near water, watch out for your friends and family to help keep each other safe.
“Please enjoy the UK’s beautiful beaches and coastline, but respect their dangers and remember, in the event of a coastal emergency, dial 999 and ask for the Coastguard.”
The main RNLI water safety tips for young people are: • Stop and think – Always swim in a safe place.
• Stay together – Always swim with an adult, young children and non-swimmers should always be close at hand.
• Float – If you find yourself struggling in the water, float on your back like a starfish.
• Call 999 in an emergency and ask for the Coast Guard.