The RNLI says that it is currently “seeking further clarity” after the announcement of the easing of lockdown measures in England.
Following last weekend, which saw the Swanage Lifeboat called out to tourists cut off by the tide at the Old Harry Rocks and the Poole Lifeboat paged to respond to reports of a kayaker in trouble off Shell Bay in Studland, the RNLI says it wants to ensure that the coast is a safe place to visit.
Lifeboat volunteer crews, due to the operational nature of their roles, can’t social distance themselves on boats and rescues can bring them in close contact with members of the public, increasing the risk of spreading coronavirus.
Help inform its response
The RNLI says it is engaging with a number of water sport governing bodies and other stakeholders to help inform its response to the new government guidelines.
In a statement it says:
“Many people will want to visit the coast and participate in water-based activities such as swimming, kayaking, surfing, boating and angling.
“At present there are no RNLI lifeguards on beaches and although our volunteer lifeboat crews are fully operational, should they be needed, it is important that anyone visiting the coast understands the risk and takes the necessary steps to keep themselves safe.
“This will also help to reduce the demands placed on our lifeboat crews and other emergency services including HM Coastguard. In this way we can all work together to succeed in ensuring the coast is a safe place to visit.”
The RNLI says that anyone planning a visit to the coast should follow its safety advice:
- Take care near cliffs – know your route and your limitations
- Have a plan – check the weather forecast and tide times
- 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
- If individuals are choosing to go sailing or yachting, it is important to ensure that equipment is properly checked and serviceable before going afloat
- In any coastal emergency dial 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard