According to the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI), the number of lifeboat launches that took place around the UK and Irish coastline in 2016 totalled 8,851. This represents a seven per cent rise compared with the year before and the highest number of rescues since 2011.
It was not just lifeboats being launched out to sea that increased year-on-year, however, with statistics revealing that the number of lifeguard incidents also rose in 2016 compared with the previous year to 17,414 cases.
With a rise in rescue cases, finding a cause is inevitably a priority; however, according to the RNLI, there could be a number of different reasons that led to the surge in rescues rather than a single factor. A hot weekend draws crowds to the beach, which can have an impact of rescue numbers, while an increase in water activities, such as surfing, kayaking or paddleboarding, can also swell rescue missions.
Lifesaving managers at the RNLI are urging beachgoers to take more care when visiting the coastline. In addition to always checking the tide times before heading out, the RNLI advises people to keep clear of cliff edges and unstable coastal paths.
The RNLI is particularly urging anyone who enters the sea to make safety a top priority, no matter whether they are going for a quick dip, a surf, or paddleboarding. Anyone who is taking a boat out to sea should always wear a lifejacket and the RNLI advises that all vessels should be checked before being launched into the water. Knowing what to do and who to contact in an emergency at sea is also vitally important, according to the RNLI; the sooner action is taken to rescue those in trouble, the less serious the outcome may be.