Lifesaving ‘sea’sonal gift ideas
Lifesaving ‘sea’sonal gift ideas – six of the bestStruggling to find that perfect Christmas gift for your coastal-loving nearest and dearest this year? Here’s a few of our ‘sea’sonal gift ideas that can be lifesavers, in more ways than one.
Some of the items are free while others cost from just a few pounds, so whatever your budget, give a gift that will help keep your loved ones safe whether they are out on the water or enjoying our beaches and coastlines.
A gift you can’t put a price onIn 2020, more people than ever have been enjoying our coasts and taking to the water, and we’d encourage everyone to come back for more in 2021. But many people have found themselves in difficulty at the coast and have needed to call 999 Coastguard for our help.
HM Coastguard’s Tago Mcleod said: “Accidents can happen to anyone – from the most experienced of seafarers to the first time beach visitor. But these risks can be minimised by taking some simple steps that will help everyone to stay safe around our coasts… and ensure you’re able to come back for more.
“A safety gift might not seem as exciting as the latest piece of high tech or toy but it could be infinitely more valuable than the traditional gifts you find under the tree.”
1. Phones and waterproof pouchesIt’s a great idea to take a fully charged mobile phone with you when you go to the coast so you can call for help if you need it.
But what about going out on the water? An inexpensive waterproof pouch is the answer, and they’re widely available at outdoor/watersports retailers and online. For 17-year-old Alfie it proved to be a lifesaver this summer. He became separated from his paddleboard and dragged out to sea. He was able to call 999 and ask for the Coastguard - it meant we could send help immediately to get him home safely.
2. Lifejackets and buoyancy aidsLifejackets can improve survival rates in cold water by four times and should be worn by those on sailing yachts and motor cruisers as well as people fishing off rocks and piers. The best ones have a locator beacon that signals your location to the emergency services and a light that helps your chance of being spotted after dark - get the right size with a light and whistle.
Buoyancy aids are suitable when there’s a chance you might get wet – for kayakers, canoeists, rowers and dinghy sailors, for example. Click here for more information.
3. Personal Locator Beacon (PLB)A Personal Locator Beacon, or PLB, will alert the emergency services that you need help and where you are if you get into difficulty on land, sea or anywhere in the world.
4. RYA SafeTrxA lifesaving gift that doesn’t cost a thing. Download the RYA SafeTrx safety app onto your loved one’s Apple or Android phone. For all sea and coastal users, the app monitors your activity and alerts emergency contacts should you fail to return home on time. There’s also a registration only option available online. Click here to find out more.
5. Swimming equipmentIf you know someone who enjoys a cold water dip or open water swim, why not get them a bright swimming cap to increase their visibility in the water or even a tow float. Get them a changing robe, woolly hats, big towels – all things to help keep them warm after a chilly swim.
6. Help! Keep warmFor keen and not so keen coastal walkers, it’s important to be able to call for help and have the means to keep as comfortable as possible while waiting for help to arrive. A spare mobile phone battery pack is always useful, an LED torch can be used to signal for help in poor light or darkness while a vacuum flask or travel mug containing a warm drink will keep your spirits up. Costing from just a few pounds, a survival blanket or bag is compact and lightweight and will help provide cover against chilly winds and rain.
Spread the word – it’s freeThe very best gift of all is to spread the word that HM Coastguard is on call every day of the year, 24/7, to help those who may be in difficulty around the coast. To alert us, call 999 and ask for the Coastguard.
We put lots of helpful safety tips out here on our HM Coastguard blogspot and social media channels. Why not follow us on all our social media channels and spread the word by sharing our posts with your loved ones and friends?