HM Coastguard Safety Spotlight – Summer Holidays Safety Call

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Now the sunny weather has arrived, the holidays are here for some and just around the corner for others, HM Coastguard  want people to take home only the happiest of memories. Enjoy the coast, stay safety-aware and know what to do if there is an emergency.

 Claire Hughes, Director of HM Coastguard, said:

Last year we had our busiest-ever summer on record, with 13,493 incidents from the start of June to the end of August. Despite the variable weather this June, we responded to 3,981 incidents – up from 3,536 in June 2020 – so we’re expecting it to be another busy season.
‘We want everyone to enjoy the summer around our coasts and take home only happy memories. The sea can be dangerous, so we’d ask everyone to help the emergency services by taking safety seriously. 
‘If you do see someone in trouble, don’t delay, call 999 and ask for the Coastguard and we’ll send our teams and emergency services partners to help, day and night.’

Summer holiday safety warning as grateful mum thanks beach lifeguards for rescuing her children

We’re joining our colleagues at The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) in the call for families to take care at the coast during the school holidays, as new figures released show RNLI lifeguards saved the lives of 54 children and teenagers last summer.

Of those lives saved, 64% (35) were aged 12 or under, while RNLI lifeguards also came to the aid of another 12,344 under-18s between June and September 2020.

Thankful family

Among those thankful to the lifesaving charity last summer were mum Rebecca Ghermoul, 49, and children Sara,14, and Yousef, 11, (13 and 10 at the time) who were rescued after getting into trouble while on a family holiday in Cornwall.

The children and I all swim but it’s usually in pools and we were not used to the sea as we live in Hertfordshire, which is almost as far as you can be from the coast,’ said Rebecca.
‘The children and I hired wetsuits and they got surfboards. A lot of people were doing it and I was expecting us to be playing in the waves by the shore.
‘My kids were over excited, not listening to me and rushed down to the shore without waiting for me as I had asked.
‘By the time I followed them they had paddled a long way out and were almost dots in the distance. I panicked when I tried to swim to them, and they couldn’t hear me when I shouted to them.
‘I swam back to shore and told my husband to call 999 for the Coastguard and prayed to God not to take my children.

‘I was shaking and crying’

‘I was shaking and crying as I went to tell my husband they were gone – it was the worst feeling of my life. Thankfully, the beach is patrolled by the RNLI and a lifeguard on a jet ski spotted that the children didn’t know what they were doing and brought them back to the shore.’

Happy ending

RNLI Water Safety Education Partner Sam Johnson said: ‘Rebecca’s story had a happy ending, but it could so easily have been different.
‘They did exactly the right thing by choosing to visit a lifeguarded beach. Rebecca also knew to call 999 and ask for the Coastguard, which is the first thing you should do in an emergency at the coast.
‘We see a big increase in the number of incidents in the sea involving children and teenagers during the school summer holidays and we would urge everyone – but families in particular – to be aware of the risks and know what to do in an emergency.’

The key summer safety advice is:

✅ Visit a lifeguarded beach and swim between the red and yellow flags

✅ If you get into trouble Float to Live – lie on your back and relax, resisting the urge to thrash about

✅ Call 999 in an emergency and ask for the Coastguard

If you see anyone in difficulty around the coast, please don’t get into trouble yourself by trying to help. We’re fully trained to tackle all circumstances and we’ll be there 24/7. Call 999 and ask for the Coastguard and we’ll send all the experts to help. Fast.

Credit: Coastguard Dad. Ask if your beach has a wristband scheme

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