Now that we are into August, beachgoers are being urged to take extra caution when heading to the coast.
August has been deemed the worst month of the year for fatalities around the UK coastline, with RNLI figures revealing that 122 beachgoers have died during August over the last five years. Last August alone, 31 beachgoers lost their lives – an increase of 55 per cent compared with the previous August.
August is the height of summer and with children off school, it is the peak month for taking holidays and flocking to the coast. Unfortunately, with more of us visiting the seaside this month, there is the risk of someone getting into trouble at sea. This could include people getting stuck in riptides, getting caught out by the change of tides, drifting too far out to sea on an inflatable lilo, or jumping off cliffs or rocks into the water.
It pays to be safety aware on a day trip to the coast, even if you are a competent swimmer. Five young men tragically lost their lives last August at Camber Sands; although they could all swim well, they succumbed to hidden dangers below the surface of the water.
If you are visiting a beach this August, choose one with lifeguards, if possible, and only swim between the red and yellow flags.
Make sure you familiarise yourself with the tide times so that you stay safe when the tides come in or go out.
Even on a hot day, the sea temperature may not get any warmer than 15°C, which can cause shock to the body. Get used to the water gradually and float to catch your breath if you experience cold water shock. Call the emergency services straight away if you see someone getting into trouble at sea.
For more safety information on what to do if you get into trouble in the water, watch this short Float to Live film from the RNLI’s #RespectTheWater campaign: