THE RNLI is warning people in Wales to take beach safety seriously ahead of some of the highest tides of the year, which often see people becoming cut off and requiring the RNLI’s help.
The Spring tides will build this weekend and peak on Wednesday 28 April. The lifesaving charity is urging people to check the weather and tides before visiting the coast.
RNLI statistics for Wales show people getting cut off by the tide caused almost 10% of all RNLI lifeboat launches over the last decade – more than double the UK average. Lifeguards rescue hundreds more stranded people every year.
RNLI Water Safety Lead Chris Cousens says:
‘RNLI lifeboats around the Welsh coast are ready to respond to emergency situations, but we are urging people to think very carefully about beach safety. People becoming cut off by the tide makes up a greater proportion of lifeguard and lifeboat rescues here in Wales than other areas of the UK. We’d urge people to think carefully before setting off on a coastal walk, especially during the big Spring tides.
‘The tide comes in and out twice in each 24 hour period, and while tide times can be accurately predicted, they vary at each location and change each day. A beach or coastal area may appear a safe place for a walk, but incoming tide can quickly leave you stranded. On bigger tides like we will see in the coming days, places will be cut off by the tide quicker than normal and places usually unaffected by the tide may also be cut off.
‘That’s why checking the weather and tides using a trusted online source, such as magicseaweed.com, the BBC weather or a tidal prediction app before setting off on any trip is essential. However, we realise that people setting out on a walk may not have that understanding of what the tide time means to them. For this reason we were keen to share time-lapse footage to clearly illustrate how sandbanks and gullies can very quickly become flooded by the tide.’
The combination of an increased number of visitors to the Welsh coast, the gradual easing of restrictions could potentially put a huge amount of pressure on the charity’s volunteer crews and lifeguards.
The RNLI is urging anyone choosing to visit the coast to make sure they keep themselves and their families safe by following beach safety advice along with the government’s advice on travel and social distancing:
· Visit a lifeguarded beach where possible and swim between the red and yellow flags – we have a number of patrolled beaches around the coast from the Easter holidays – find your nearest at rnli.org.uk/lifeguardedbeaches
· Wherever you are, check the weather forecast, tide times and read local hazard signage to understand local risks
· If you fall into the water unexpectedly, FLOAT TO LIVE. Fight your instinct to thrash around, lean back, extend your arms and legs, and Float.
· In an emergency dial 999 and ask for the Coastguard.