How to stay safe at beaches this summer

The RNLI are urging people to swim at lifeguarded beaches

The RNLI are urging people to swim at lifeguarded beaches - Credit: RNLI/David Edwards

As the warm weather from the Bank Holiday weekend continues, many people are rushing to their favourite seaside locations this half-term - but the RNLI is urging people to stay safe. 

The beach is normally a hotspot for many people during the summer months for a place to spend sunny days and cool off with a dip in the sea, but sea safety experts have released some top tips on how to stay safe when in the water. 

In 2020, the RNLI lifeguards saved over 100 lives, aided 25,172 people - including 1908 involving bodyboards and 348 with inflatables - responded to 10,687 incidents and made more than 2.2million preventative actions. 

Eliza and Arran having fun in the sea. Aldeburgh hot weather at the beach Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND

People are being warned to take care when visiting beaches this summer - Credit: Charlotte Bond

The RNLI's top tips for staying safe whilst at the beach are:

  • Go to a lifeguarded beach and swim between the red and yellow flags.
  • If you find yourself in trouble whilst in the water, float to live 
  • In an emergency always dial 999 and ask for the coastguard. 
  • Do not bring inflatables to the beach

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Conditions in the sea can change at any moment and, if you are not careful, you can easily get caught out. 

Nick Ayers, water safety lead for Suffolk and Norfolk, said: "Always visit a lifeguarded beach, and in Suffolk we have two beaches which are lifeguarded by the RNLI, Southwold and Lowestoft.

Blu and Bailey having fun in the sea on Bank Holiday Monday. Picture:Sarah Lucy Brown

Blu and Bailey having fun in the sea on Bank Holiday Monday - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

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"Do not use inflatables, keep them for home swimming pools, they are not designed for the open water, so don't take them down to the coast. 

"They are designed for a swimming pool and an enclosed area, they can get picked up by the wind very quickly and obviously being at the coast the weather can change in seconds. 

"On the east coast, especially in Suffolk and Norfolk we have got really fast moving lateral tides, and with the tides and winds the inflatables are a recipe for disaster. 

Swimmers should always keep between the red and yellow flags at the beaches

Swimmers should always keep between the red and yellow flags at the beaches - Credit: RNLI/Callum Robinson

"If you see anyone in trouble in the water, dial 999 and ask for the coastguard and do not enter the water after somebody has experienced difficulties in the water."

Mr Ayers, is also expecting beaches to be very busy during the summer months. 

"One in three people said they would go to the coast this summer at least three times," Mr Ayers said.

Iona Kelly Benson, Andy Nelson and Daisy Kelly Stevenson cooling off in the sea in Felixstowe. Pict

Iona Kelly Benson, Andy Nelson and Daisy Kelly Stevenson cooling off in the sea in Felixstowe - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

"We did a survey to sort of capture what people's intentions were this summer and those were the results of the survey. 

"Also in Suffolk we have got the inland water ways like the Broads which attract thousand of visitors every year, so we expecting a busier summer as ever and we are preparing ourselves for that."


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