Safety Spotlight - High spirits and high jinks. When danger kicks off

With warm weather ahead and the EUROs kicking off this weekend, our goal is to help everyone stay safe around the coast... 

Good old fashioned bad luck can strike at any time but high spirits often lead to high jinks and danger quickly kicks in. And when alcohol and chilly sea water are mixed together, that’s a potentially lethal cocktail that can be life changing as well as life-threatening.  

Did you know that around one in every eight coastal deaths involves alcohol? 

It can happen in the sea as well as in rivers and lakes too. It happened to one 19-year-old student whose family and friends wanted to share their story. (Read more)

Don’t let it happen to you, your family or your mates

The water is still chilly at this time of year, increasing the risk of drowning or cardiac arrest from cold water shock. Check out the useful links below to find out why cold water shock is so dangerous – no matter how young and fit you are. Cold water does not discriminate.

In the last week alone, there have been plenty of very lucky escapes and near misses around our coasts.

One too many
: On Wednesday just after 7.30pm, we were called out to help Kent Police at Sutton Staith on the Norfolk Broads. The report was that a man who’d clearly had one too many was swimming in the cold water. We sent our Herne Bay coastguard rescue team (CRT) and the RNLI lifeboat. Fortunately the man self-recovered back on to a boat.

Big night out
: On Monday night, 8 youths enjoyed a big night out at Herne Bay. Fortunately members of the public called 999 to raise the alarm when one was spotted in the water. Herne Bay CRT and Whitstable RNLI were sent to help Kent Police. This time the man was lucky – and got himself out safely.

A drink and a dip
: Another 6 young men were spotted drinking one evening and then going in for a dip at Chalkwell near Southend. The RNLI lifeboat was sent together with our Southend CRT. This time they self-recovered, another time they may not have been so fortunate.

Dinghies in the drink:
A drink or two may have been involved when six young people got into trouble when their two rubber dinghies were reported to be drifting a mile offshore at Sheerness. The Coastguard rescue teams from Sheppey and Sheerness RNLI were sent and the RNLI brought the group back to safety.

Coastguard Rescue Teams train for water rescues
With an estimated 30 million of us (RNLI survey) planning on taking a trip to the coast this summer, and with good weather now under way, it’s probably not surprising that there will be incidents and accidents. Some will be sheer misfortune which could happen to even the most experienced of people on the coast, while others could potentially be avoided by following a few simple safety precautions.

It’s why we’re on call 24/7 as the lead emergency service to help anyone in difficulty around our 11,000-plus miles of coasts (Ordnance Survey).

Six top summer safety tips

  • Alcohol and the sea don’t mix. If you’re having a glass of something cold, just enjoy the view, not the water
  • If you get into trouble Float to Live – lie on your back and relax, resisting the urge to thrash about
  • Don’t take unnecessary risks: leave inflatable toys at home, don’t climb up cliffs, sit too close to them or go near the edges
  • Visit a lifeguarded beach and swim between the red and yellow flags
  • If there’s a free wristband scheme on the beach, do use it
  • Call 999 in an emergency and ask for the Coastguard

If you see anyone in difficulty around the coast, please don’t get into trouble yourself by trying to help. We’re fully trained to tackle all circumstances and we’ll be there 24/7. Call 999 and ask for the Coastguard and we’ll send all the experts to help. Fast.

Credit: Shutterstock library image

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