With half term approaching next week, the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) is urging anyone, who is able under government guidelines to visit the Welsh coast to stay safe. The charity is urging people not to take any unnecessary risks that may put extra pressure on emergency services.

Every time a lifeboat crew is called to an incident, it puts additional pressure on RNLI volunteers and other front-line emergency services. In addition to this it also potentially exposes them to Covid-19.

The lifesaving charity is asking the public to follow Welsh government guidelines and think carefully about safety if they live close to the coast. During lockdown people are allowed to exercise but the RNLI do not recommend that this exercise is on or in the sea.

Stuart Wallace, RNLI Regional Lifesaving Lead for Wales says: ‘With schools closed over the half-term and a break in online learning, it is likely we will see people lucky enough to live close to the coast using it to exercise. We are encouraging everyone to follow government guidance on what they are able to do and where they are able to go during lockdown.

‘The school holiday will look very different this year, but for those able to use the coast for exercise, we would urge them to familiarise themselves with local risks and be as safe as possible and not put unnecessary strain on front line services. We’ve seen an increased number of rescues to people out on coastal walks getting cut off by the tide.

‘In a normal year around 150 people lose their lives at the coast and we know that more than half of those never intended to be in the water. So, whether you are walking, running or cycling at the coast, please be extra responsible and avoid taking unnecessary risks.’

The RNLI and HM Coastguard have launched a winter coastal safety campaign to highlight the dangers of stormy seas, changing tides and cliffs at this time of year.

Chris Cousens, RNLI Water Safety Lead for Wales added: ‘In particular at this time of year, we ask people to stay well back from stormy, wintery seas and cliff edges, check tide times before you go, take a phone with you, and call 999 or 112 and ask for the Coastguard if you or someone else is in trouble.’

The RNLI’s key water safety advice is:

  • Take care if walking near cliffs – know your route and keep dogs on a lead
  • Check tide times daily
  • Take a full-charged phone
  • Check your equipment is in good working order
  • Be aware of the conditions and your capabilities and only enter the water if it is safe to do so
  • In an emergency call 999 or 112 and ask for the Coastguard
  • Additional safety advice at www.rnli.org/safety